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Book Cover
Author Hoberman, Michael.

Title Yankee moderns : folk regional identity in the Sawmill Valley of Western Massachusetts, 1890-1920 / Michael Hoberman.

Published Knoxville : University of Tennessee Press, [2000]


Location Call No. Status
 UniM Store  974.422 HOBE MF12    AVAILABLE
Edition 1st ed.
Physical description 162 pages ; 24cm
Bibliography Includes bibliographical references and index.
Contents Introduction. Rivers and Tributaries: An American Folk Region xiv -- 1. Back Up on Brushy: Place-related Legends and Anecdotes of Sawmill Valley Hills 2 -- 2. "In Those Days You Never Made Any Money": Subsistence Farming and Regional Identity 30 -- 3. Self-reliance and Ambivalence: Life and Lore in the Lumbering Industries 66 -- 4. Life in "Sweet Auburn": Village (Self-)Consciousness in the Sawmill Valley 92 -- 5. Question: What Happened to Regional Identity in the Sawmill Valley? Answer: The Village Coop, among Other Things 132.
Summary In Yankee Moderns, Michael Hoberman explores the convergence of folk regional identity -- a culturally based sense of place -- with the social, economic, and psychic pressures that have come with modernity. Focusing on the oral traditions of a small place, the Sawmill Valley of western Massachusetts, he finds that the folklife of apparently isolated rural communities is far more dynamic and adaptable to change than is popularly supposed.
Deftly intertwining anecdote and analysis, Hoberman draws largely upon interviews he conducted with older residents of the Sawmill Valley. He uses their words to paint a vivid picture of everyday life there during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries -- a time when small-scale farming and lumbering began to give way to the newer economic forces of industrialization and tourism.
As he studied these oral traditions, Hoberman discovered a high degree of self-consciousness and social tension, which he attributes to the region's post-agricultural economic woes and to its somewhat reluctant proximity to several Connecticut Valley immigrant enclaves. Yet, he asserts, even as their old agrarian ideals and one-time cultural uniformity became matters of distant memory, the residents of Sawmill Valley recognized these facts and coped quite competently with the changing conditions of their lives.
Rural New Englanders, Hoberman suggests, have too long been portrayed as backward-looking and dangerously homogenous in their makeup -- crotchety exceptions to modernity's nearly worldwide sweep. This insightful work, with its emphasis on instability and adaptation as persistent features of the folk region, does much to lay that stereotype to rest.
Subject Oral tradition -- Massachusetts -- Sawmill River Valley.
Folklore -- Massachusetts -- Sawmill River Valley.
Group identity -- Massachusetts -- Sawmill River Valley.
Regionalism -- Massachusetts -- Sawmill River Valley.
Sawmill River Valley (Mass.) -- Social life and customs.
ISBN 1572330872