Removing Mountains: Extracting Nature and Identity in the Appalachian Coalfields by Rebecca R. ScottRemoving Mountains: Extracting Nature and Identity in the Appalachian Coalfields by Rebecca R. Scott

Removing Mountains: Extracting Nature and Identity in the Appalachian Coalfields

byRebecca R. Scott

Paperback | August 4, 2010

Pricing and Purchase Info


Earn 163 plum® points

Prices and offers may vary in store


Ships within 3-5 weeks

Ships free on orders over $25

Not available in stores


A coal mining technique practiced in southern West Virginia known as mountaintop removal is drastically altering the terrain of the Appalachian Mountains. Peaks are flattened and valleys are filled as the coal industry levels thousands of acres of forest to access the coal, in the process turning the forest into scrubby shrublands and poisoning the water. This is dangerous and environmentally devastating work, but as Rebecca R. Scott shows in Removing Mountains, the issues at play are vastly complicated.

In this rich ethnography of life in Appalachia, Scott examines mountaintop removal in light of controversy and protests from environmental groups calling for its abolishment. But Removing Mountains takes the conversation in a new direction, telling the stories of the businesspeople, miners, and families who believe they depend on the industry to survive. Scott reveals these southern Appalachian coalfields as a meaningful landscape where everyday practices and representations help shape a community's relationship to the environment.

Removing Mountains demonstrates that the paradox that faces this community-forced to destroy their land to make a wage-raises important questions related not only to the environment but also to American national identity, place, and white working-class masculinity.
Rebecca R. Scott is assistant professor of sociology at the University of Missouri.
Title:Removing Mountains: Extracting Nature and Identity in the Appalachian CoalfieldsFormat:PaperbackDimensions:296 pages, 8.5 × 5.5 × 1 inPublished:August 4, 2010Publisher:University of Minnesota PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0816666008

ISBN - 13:9780816666003


Table of Contents

Introduction: The Logic of Extraction
1. Hillbillies and Coal Miners: Representations of a National Sacrifice Zone
2. Men Moving Mountains: Coal Mining Masculinities and Mountaintop Removal
3. The Gendered Politics of Pro-Mountaintop Removal Discourse
4. ATVs in Action: Transgression, Property Rights, and Tourism on the Hatfield-McCoy Trail
5. Coal Heritage/Coal History: Appalachia, America, and Mountaintop Removal
6. Traces of History: "White" People, Black Coal
Conclusion: Coal Facts
Appendix: Guide to Participants

Editorial Reviews

"Rebecca R. Scott takes us into the coalfields, mining the cultural poetics that give rise to conflicts over the meaning and significance of this disturbing technology. Her careful excavations reveal the roles that gender, race, and class play in shaping people’s sense of belonging both in their local environments and in the larger modern world. These are deep—and sometimes deeply contradictory—cultural processes that are all but invisible to those content to stay on the surface. Scott strips away the easy answers and finds hard questions underneath." —Matt Wray, Temple University