01-04 Deploying “Grassroots Authenticity”: “Everyday Folk” As Moral Index and Boundary Mechanism

Thursday, November 02, 8:30 am–10:00 am
Broadway III/IV

This live event will not be recorded.

Chair: Danille Elise Christensen (Virginia Tech)

8:30 am
Queering Authenticity
Mary Byrne (The Ohio State University)

9:00 am
The Taming of Mothman: Cute-ification and Marketization of Cultural Forms in Appalachia
Sarah Craycraft (Indiana University Bloomington) and Jordan Lovejoy (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill)

9:30 am
The Sunshine Family Meets the Star-Spangled Dolls: Envisioning DIY Roots during the US Bicentennial
Danille Elise Christensen (Virginia Tech)

This panel examines how authenticity–in its metaphorical guise as “grassroots” theory and praxis–is deployed to benefit specific interests across the political spectrum. Exploring topics that include astroturfing ‘authentic’ minoritized (heterosexual, cisgender) voices within the far-right group Moms for Liberty (M4L) , the neoliberal transformation of Mothman into a cute (apparently progressive) commodity in Appalachia, and the ways that Bicentennial-era dolls perform national narratives of homespun production for both conservatives and liberals, we ask, “Who is invoking ‘everyday folk’ and ‘grassroots practice,’ and why? Within a revivalist search for moral and cultural roots, what do we gain and lose?