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Queering Appalachia

By Firestorm Coop

Editor Z. Zane McNeill returns to our co-op for this virtual conversation with contributors to their latest collection, Y’All Means All: The Emerging Voices Queering Appalachia. Multidisciplinary and multi-genre, Y’All Means All incorporates elements of critical theory, such as critical race theory and queer theory, while dealing with a multitude of methodologies, from quantitative analysis, to oral history and autoethnography. Above all else, the collection demonstrates that Appalachia and its people are filled with a vitality and passion for their region which will slowly but surely effect long-lasting and positive changes in the region. If historically Appalachia has been treated as a mirror of the country, this book breaks that trend by allowing modern Appalachians to examine their own reflections and to share their insights in an honest, unfiltered manner with the world.

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Zane McNeill is a scholar-activist with a BA in History and MA in Political Science. He is an experienced organizer and has worked in the spheres of public policy, government relations, and animal law in the non-profit sector. They are the co-editor of Queer and Trans Voices: Achieving Liberation Through Consistent Anti-Oppression and are currently working on other projects concerning queer liberation in Appalachia, anti-carceral veganism, choreopolitics, and socially engaged art.

Hannah Conway is a PhD Candidate in the History of Science department at Harvard University. They are an interdisciplinary scholar working at the intersections of history, STS, and visual art in Appalachia and the Deep South. They hold MAs in History and the History of Science from the College of Charleston and Harvard University, as well as a BS in Technical Photography from Appalachian State University, and currently reside full time in Memphis, Tennessee. Hannah is an enrolled citizen of the Cherokee Nation (ᏣᎳᎩᎯ ᎠᏰᎵ).

sair goetz is a time-based artist who writes instructions that shift problematic realities into speculative fictions. Their work seeks to leverage the weightlessness of language to complicate, manipulate, and annotate the weighty matters it circumscribes. This speculative language is inscribed back into reality through bodily performance, video, installation, and signage. The works become lines of inquiry that move propositions about pertinent topics (sexual violation, illusions of safety, gender non-binaries, the future of literacy, and the stability of self-definition) into the specificities of embodiment (the elasticity of a tongue, an industrial scissor-lift, buttons on the left side of a shirt, devices for dialog, and 300lbs of ice). sair received their MFA from the Ohio State University in 2017 and their BA in Visual and Media Studies, Arts of the Moving Image, and Documentary Studies from Duke University in 2011. In 2017-2018 sair was awarded the Dedalus Foundation post-MFA fellowship.

Kendall Loyer is a dancer, dancemaker, dramaturg, scholar, educator, photographer, and creative writer. Her movement practice investigates memory, embodied processes of remembering and themes of dispossession, haunting and displacement. Her doctoral research aims to unravel the queer layers of time, geography, and embodiment in Appalachia through the lens of Critical Dance Studies. Her work focuses on performance, storytelling, labor, protest, folk lifeways and the radical worldmaking of “white trash aesthetics” under the necropolitical violence of racial capitalism

Y’all Means All: The Emerging Voices Queering Appalachia