MA (Master of Arts)
Date of Award
Committee Chair or Co-Chairs
Rebecca Adkins Fletcher, Katie Hoffman, Marie Tedesco
This thesis explores how contemporary Appalachian women’s gendered experiences influence their choices of ballad repertoire. This inquiry is pursued through a feminist analysis of interviews with six women ballad singers from Madison County, North Carolina. In evaluating the women’s choices of ballads and their commentary on the songs, this thesis draws upon narratological theories as well as concepts from Appalachian traditional music studies.
This study finds that women’s repertoire preferences reveal contemporary female concerns for physical safety and political agency. The singers also extract hidden transcripts from ballad texts and use ballads to educate audiences about women’s historic oppression. However, some singers find other factors, such as a song’s tune, or its significance as a part of regional heritage, to be more significant than the narrative content of the songs. This work affirms the contemporary influences of gendered concerns in ballad singing communities.
Thesis - Open Access
Lynch-Thomason, Sara, "“I’ve Always Identified with the Women:” How Appalachian Women Ballad Singers’ Repertoire Choices Reflect Their Gendered Concerns" (2018). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. Paper 3488. https://dc.etsu.edu/etd/3488
Copyright by the authors.