Ashley Couch MA Critical Studies Thesis 2021

Proving Grounds

Though the speakers’ accents in bootstrap mythologies may differ slightly, common elements such as addiction, abandonment, “hillbilly justice,’’ trauma, poverty and a deep appreciation of “home” lace whitewashed perspectives that typically fail to critically consider race, gender, disability, power, oppression or the patchworks of cultures and critters inhabiting our hollers. Combining memoir, creative nonfiction, critical theory, popular culture, legal history and history of place, this autotheoretical thesis serves as a rebuttal to, and indictment of, typical bootstrap mythologies, interrogating systems to disrupt assumed beliefs. Beginning with a Preface and Introduction framing the content and providing personal and theoretical grounding, the work next considers the Blues Highway, a stretch of space connecting Nashville past Memphis deep into the Mississippi Delta. Next, Tobacco Road describes the area of North Carolina around Chapel Hill and Duke, a hotbed of race-related protests from the Civil War era to modern times. Questioning notions of justice, /ˈpro͞oviNG ˌɡround[s]/ transports its readers to the scenes of the crimes to consider their own complicities and accomplice liabilities, compelling discovery along the ride.  

MA Critical Studies Thesis Collection Fall 2020

Hannah Bakken MA Critical Studies and MFA Print Media Thesis 2020

Kristin Derryberry MA Critical Studies Thesis 2021

Laura Nash MA Critical Studies Thesis 2021

Ashley Couch MA Critical Studies Thesis 2021

Madison Hames MA Critical Studies Thesis 2021

Justin Lizik MA Critical Studies Thesis 2021

Alex Hebler MA Critical Studies Thesis 2021

Kyle Cohlmia MA Critical Studies Thesis 2021

Elizabeth Simins MA Critical Studies Thesis 2021