This project received generous financial support from many institutions. At Emory University, the Graduate Institute of the Liberal Arts (ILA) and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences provided research travel grants, a Woodruff Fellowship, a Brown Southern Studies Research Grant, a Brown Southern Studies Research Fellowship, a Dean's Teaching Fellowship, and a Quadrangle Research Fund Fellowship in Post-national American Studies. At Virginia Tech, the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies (now the Department of Religion and Culture) and the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences (CLAHS) at Virginia Tech provided travel funding, a Humanities Summer Stipend, a departmental teaching release, a South Atlantic Humanities Center Fellowship, and a South Atlantic Studies Initiative award, thanks to department chairs Betty Fine and Peter Schmitthenner and college deans Jerry Niles and Sue Ott Rowlands. Additional travel and research funds were provided by the Appalachian Studies Program, thanks to program director Anita Puckett, and by the Center for Instructional Development and Educational Research, thanks to faculty study group mentors Dan Thorpe and Mark Barrow. The Appalachian Studies Association and the National Endowment for the Humanities funded a Wilma Dykeman Faces of Appalachia Post-doctoral Research Fellowship for the Study of Race, Ethnicity, and Gender, which made it possible to write during the summer after my daughter Maryn was born. Additional financial support was provided by a research fellowship sponsored by the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage and the Emory Center for the Study of Public Scholarship.
I owe a great debt to countless librarians. The Interlibrary Loan Offices at Emory University, King College (Bristol, Virginia), and Virginia Tech were essential to my research. Thanks goes to Kathy Shoemaker, Naomi Nelson, and Randy Gue at Emory University; Claire McCann, Jason Flahardy, Matt Harris, and especially Kate Black at the University of Kentucky; Delinda Buie, Sue Finley, Rachel Howard, and Ann Collins at the (p.xiv) University of Louisville; Patrick Kerwin and Marilyn Ibach at the Library of Congress; Shannon Wilson at Berea College; Faye Harkins and Gina Claywell at Murray State University; Donna Baker at Morehead State University; Elizabeth Dunham at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville; and Elizabeth Bagley and especially Marianne Bradley, as well as students Victoria Belarde and Zijia Sun, at Agnes Scott College. Research trips were made possible by my friends and hosts: Jennifer Meares and Amy Viar in Atlanta; Leslie and Ryan Bates in Louisville; and Marsha Ford in Washington, DC. Additional assistance with images was provided by Thomas Wells at the University of Tennessee Press.
Undergraduate students at Virginia Tech have made invaluable contributions to this project. In spring 2007, students in my course Critical Issues: Popular Appalachia in Film and Fiction (Kate Andrukonis, Kim Berkey, Morgan Cain, Kathryn Drumwright, Rebecca Farthing, Mark Gregory, Grant Harris, Jason Luke, Kristen McFeeley, and Katie Paxton) helped me clarify my thinking and prepared projects on best sellers that directed me to useful resources. Work-study students Syeda Kutub, Michelle Pac, Mackenzie D'Assis, Kareli Arce, and Jessica Edwards helped with library runs, deciphering and typing fan letters, distilling demographic data on the fans, and mapping the origins of the fan mail. CLAHS ambassadors volunteered their time to assist in my research and analysis, including Ashley Ferguson, Jarryd Mushatt-Valery, and Kerry Kaleba. The Undergraduate Research Institute sent me angels by the names of Jason Ramsey, Meagan Watson, Blair Knight, Jared Rowan, Ryan McLaughlin, and especially Kevin Gillispie and Karen Spears. They created maps, completed and standardized citations, and pursued images and permissions. Kevin checked for errors of attribution in secondary and primary sources (often with a much sharper eye for fans' handwriting than mine) and helped me bounce ideas around. Graphic design major Amanda Kubista created the striking cover illustration. Additionally, graduate students Scott Tate and Dana Cochran in the Alliance for Social, Political, Ethical, and Cultural Thought (ASPECT) doctoral program did a brilliant job as teaching assistants, enabling me to write.
I would like to thank my dedicated professors and mentors in the ILA and in the departments of history and English at Emory University, including Cristine Levenduski, Amy Schrager Lang, Jonathan Prude, Jim Roark, Allen Tullos, and especially Michael Elliott—who has spent even more hours advising me after my graduation than before. I am immensely (p.xv) grateful to my writing group members at Emory: Amy Wood, Brian Luskey, Marni Davis, Molly McGehee, and especially Jennifer Meares, who saved the day near the end; and at Virginia Tech: Nikol Alexander-Floyd, Carlos Evia, and especially Gena Chandler. Thanks also goes to the Spaces of Identity Research Group at Virginia Tech, organized by women's and gender studies program director Barbara Ellen Smith: Katy Powell, Gena Chandler, Maria-Elisa Christie, Minjeong Kim, and Laura Gillman. My most steadfast and long-standing writing adviser, Mary Lynn Satterwhite, read multiple chapters for the clarity and correctness of my prose. What follows is much improved thanks to her keen eye.
Additional readers, interlocutors, colleagues, teachers, advocates, and friends who deserve special mention for nurturing my thinking and my career include H. D. Satterwhite, Virginia Shadron, Katherine Skinner, Steve Fisher, Tal Stanley, David Whisnant, Elizabeth Engelhardt, Darlene Wilson, Cece Conway, June Howard, Janice Radway, Jack Furlong, Chad Berry, Barbara Hochman, Barbara Ryan, Amy Blair, Jean Haskell, Neal King, Mark Barrow, Heather Diamond, Jen and Steve Daskal, Erika Meitner, Anita Puckett, and Katherine Ledford. Thank goodness for the support of the Lane Hall mafia; those people know how to get things done around here. University Press of Kentucky acquisitions editor Laura Sutton's belief in the project reinvigorated me for the final stretch, which Steve Wrinn, Allison Webster, and a skillful UPK staff saw me through. Stephanie Foote, Chris Green, Chad Berry, and an anonymous reviewer helped me see my work and what was at stake in new ways; I cannot fully express my gratitude to them for their careful reading and grappling with the manuscript. I cherish the friendship and mentoring of Barbara Ellen Smith; our many conversations shaped and improved immeasurably the ideas herein. Emory, Virginia Tech, the Appalachian Studies Association, and the Reception Studies Society have introduced me to many more brilliant collaborators than I can mention individually.
To Phil Olson, who made this book possible in more ways than I can count, I owe much more than gratitude alone. Thank you for being my sweetheart, my best friend, and a doting dad. I love you.
Parts of this book were initially published as “Reading Craddock, Reading Murfree” in American Literature, reprinted by permission of Duke University Press; “‘That's What They're All Singing About’” and “Objecting to Insider/Outsider Politics and the Uncritical Celebration of Appalachia,” (p.xvi) reprinted by permission of Appalachian Journal; “Imagining Home, Nation, World,” reprinted by permission of the Journal of American Folklore; and “Romancing Whiteness” in At Home and Abroad, reprinted by permission of the University of Tennessee Press.