The Environment and Culture Caucus of the American Studies Association is pleased to announce that the 2017 Annette Kolodny Prize, sponsored by Duke University Press and Orion Magazine, has been awarded to Bob Johnson (National University) for his paper “Coal TV: The Hyperreal Mineral Frontier.”
Coal TV is a 2011 reality TV series that centered on a hard rock coal mining operation in McDowell County, West Virginia. McDowell County is a part of deep Appalachia known both for its extreme poverty and for its 100-year-long history of coal mining. This reality television program tells us about the ways in which our knowledge of coal is narrated, mediated, managed, and how fossil capitalism under the terms of neoliberalism – including, its high-flying wealth, its acute risk, and its startling inequality – gets legitimized and rendered as natural as breathing.
This year’s committee found that this project exemplifies the goals of the Annette Kolodny Prize, which recognizes excellent scholarship in environmental studies that is presented at the annual meeting of the American Studies Association.
The prize will be conferred at the ECC Business Meeting at the ASA conference in Atlanta in November 2018.