The Thistle and the Brier

Historical Links and Cultural Parallels Between Scotland and Appalachia


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About the Book

Scotland and Southern Appalachia have always shared a strong connection. Many of the first people to permanently settle in the Appalachian mountains came from the Scottish highlands seeking religious and other freedoms. Many descendants of those first settlers from Scotland still make their homes in Southern Appalachia and attribute many aspects of their culture to their Scottish heritage. This book explores the parallels and connections between Scotland and Southern Appalachia, with special attention to the interplay between revivals of folk culture, native languages, and dialects in Scotland and Appalachia since the 1970s. It covers contemporary Scottish and Appalachian cultural movements, particularly the links between cultural revivals and identity politics, and contains substantial references that increase its value as an authoritative scholarly work on the convergence of the cultures.

About the Author(s)

Richard Blaustein is a professor of sociology and anthropology at East Tennessee State University in Johnson City, Tennessee. He is also the former director of ETSU’s Center for Appalachian Studies and Services.

Bibliographic Details

Richard Blaustein

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 182
Bibliographic Info: photos, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2003
pISBN: 978-0-7864-1452-9
Imprint: McFarland
Series: Contributions to Southern Appalachian Studies

Table of Contents

Preface     1
Introduction     7

1 Tracing Scottish Allusions in American Discourse on Appalachia     19
2 Appalachia Studies Comes of Age     47
3 Scottish Cultural Revivals: A Sketch and a Theory     72
4 Conversation with a Cultural Missionary: Flora MacDonald Gammon, Waynesville, North Carolina, 17 January 1994     76
5 Core and Periphery: A Critique of the Internal Colonialism Model in Scotland and Appalachia     98
6 The Thistle and the Brier: Poetics and Identity Politics in Scotland and Appalachia     104
7 Self Portrait of a Cultural Activist: A Conversation with Hamish Henderson, Edinburgh, 13 June 1996     110
8 Folk-Bashing and Cultural Self-Determination in Scotland, Nova Scotia and Appalachia: Looking for Constructive Alternatives to Deconstructionism     124
9 Dinna Say Dinna: Teachers As Agents of Linguistic Colonialism in Scotland and Appalachia     132
10 Poems Make the People: A Conversation with Joy Hendry, Edinburgh, 1 July 1996     146
11 The Beginning of a New Song: Some Reflections Upon the Opening of the New Scottish Parliament     160

Conclusion     162
Bibliography     165
Index     171

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “sensitive and insightful obervations…valuable”—A! Magazine
  • “lively and stimulating”—The North Carolina Historical Review
  • “informative”—Journal of Appalachian Studies
  • “a great reference…an excellent source”—The Advocate (Baton Rouge, Louisiana)
  • “folk revivals and literature in both Scotland and Appalachia elevated fors of speech that had been disparaged…recognition comes as Appalachian dialects are disappearing from speech, largely because of a more mobile society, education and mass media”—Knox News
  • “Blaustein develops rich comparisons by working carefully with these prickly symbols…engaging…a sharp critique of cultural critique…important”—Journal of American Folklore
  • “explores connections and similarities between Scotland and Appalachia, focusing on revivals of folk culture and the incorporation of folk speech into poetry and other forms of creative expression”—The Center for Appalachian Studies and Services
  • “should provide scintillating reading”—Appalachian Heritage.