Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Document Type

Master's Thesis


Arts and Sciences



First Advisor

Crystal Wilkinson

Second Advisor

Dr. Pearl James


Appalachia is a national sacrifice zone that hosts extractive industries directly responsible for many social problems in the region, however, many attribute these issues to the moral failings of Appalachians themselves. Activism in the area is heavily focused on opposing both extraction and the negative perceptions which contribute to its domination. One way this activism is conducted is through extractive fiction—novels which expose the destruction caused by extractive industries. Appalachian extractive fiction utilizes religion and spirituality to argue against extraction. This research examines how fiction can be an effective mode of activism and how the use of Christian arguments in particular is enhanced through fiction. The arguments present include those supporting place attachment, stewardship, and nature-venerating spiritualities, all of which work to sacralize the fictional Appalachian mountains in the hopes that the reader will apply these ideas of sacredness and spirituality to the real-life Appalachia. Using faith to build this empathy works to show the readers that the issues in Appalachia are not the fault of those who are victimized by extraction. These arguments are enhanced through the perspectives of protagonists who feel these connections in a way that is not only cultural, but spiritual.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)