Professor Richardson Delivers Talk at Exeter University on Rural America and Appalachia

On Wednesday, May 22, 2019, Professor Jesse Richardson spoke at the University of Exeter on “Hillbilly Resurrection: a critical look at socio-political-economic-legal issues in rural America through the lens of Appalachia”. Professor Richardson was hosted by the Centre for Rural Policy Research in the College of Social Sciences and International Studies.

From the abstract:

Shockwaves resonated throughout much of the United States (and the wider world) upon announcement of the 2016 US presidential election results—Donald Trump, a TV personality and billionaire real estate developer, had managed to win enough votes in enough states to secure a victory through the electoral college against his opponent, Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton. Over half the voters (Clinton won a majority of the votes) and onlookers wondered despondently, “How did this happen?” Different hypotheses have been offered as to what contributed to his popularity with a diehard base and swing of moderate voters, especially in light of the numerous scandals marring the Trump campaign and consequent administration. However, one which has given rise to controversy is presented in the book Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance, which became a New York Times Best Seller in 2016 and 2017, providing both conservatives and liberals alike with fuel for the debate about the role of the deteriorating white working class in the election and in post-industrial American society more generally.