Author ORCID Identifier

Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Linguistic Theory and Typology (MALTT)

Document Type

Master's Thesis


Arts and Sciences



First Advisor

Dr. Jennifer Cramer


Little work has been conducted on the intersections of queer and Appalachian identities, in part because these two identities are viewed as incompatible (Mann 2016). This study uses a multimodal critical discourse analytic approach to examine the Instagram posts of the Queer Appalachia Project, which represent a substantial body of discourse created by and for queer Appalachians. Of specific interest to this analysis are those posts which employ folkloric figures, such as West Virginia’s Mothman, to do identity work that is queer, Appalachian, and queer-Appalachian. Often, this act is accomplished through juxtaposition with Appalachian imagery and the reclamation of homophobic and anti-Appalachian tropes. This analysis finds that the iterative positioning of such figures as queer-Appalachian icons creates a series of texts through which the performance of queer-Appalachianness both transgresses and conforms to normative expectations (Pennycook 2007). In doing so, I track the real-time enregisterment of these legends as powerful discursive resources, and argue for their consideration as discursive carte blanche, where the freedom of imagination intrinsic to folkloric discourse allows for the innovative identity work necessary for queer-Appalachian ways of life.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)