What defines “coal identity politics” and what role might they have had in the election of Donald Trump? In this article, Arthur Rose examines the works of bell hooks, Elmore Leonard, and the television series Justified—based on Leonard’s fiction— to consider the sense of a collective identity amongst East Kentucky coal communities, which also encompasses their political views. In an era when human activity dominates the environment, Arthur examines some of the negative impacts of living in a coal-centric community. Emphasising themes such as nostalgia, white supremacy, the patriarchy, black lung, capitalism, and the economies of addiction, Rose argues for “coal’s affective power in specific communities.”
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Arthur is a Vice Chancellor's Fellow in English at University of Bristol. He was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow on Life of Breath at Durham University. His work for the project focused on how breath, breathlessness and respiratory illness are represented in different literary and audio-visual media.