A Ph.D. candidate at Temple University in Media and Communication, I am currently engaged in fieldwork for my dissertation project in the Anthracite Coal Region of Northeastern Pennsylvania. My dissertation research, “In the Shadow of ‘King Coal,’” explores the restructuring of Pennsylvania’s de-industrialized Anthracite Coal Region—a restructuring that involves the Coal Region’s scalar and spatial positioning, mediated imaginaries of the community, ethnic relations, and issues of capital accumulation and economic abandonment. The dissertation focuses on the region’s cultural processes, which are intensely local but also linked to wider circulations of capital and media: out-migration of youth, in-migration of new residents, mediated representations of “Appalachia,” and the social memory of mining labor and mine-related violence. The project incorporates autoethnographic writing along with more traditional ethnographic approaches to communication research--I grew up amongst family who labored in the local mines and I hail from the Anthracite Coal Region written about in this study.
The Anthracite Coal Region Project" collects, aggregates, and makes publicly available cultural, historical, and media documents, along with personal memories and comments of the residents from the once heavily mined hard coal region of the northern Appalachian Mountains. It is a work in progress born out of consistent and sustained communication since I created a Facebook page in December 2013 that now has thousands of followers and later a website/blog at http://anthracitecoalregion.blog. The end goal is to build a community archive of these materials using digital mapping technologies.
Melissa R. Meade is a Ph.D. candidate at Temple University in Media and Communication, and is currently engaged in her fieldwork for her dissertation project in the Anthracite Coal Region of Northeastern Pennsylvania. Meade is a recipient of the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research Dissertation Fieldwork Grant and the Waterhouse Institute for Communication and Society Grant, an award that recognizes a project’s focus on communication’s significance for ethics, social justice, and social change. She is a HASTAC Digital Humanities Scholar at the Center for Humanities at Temple (CHAT). Meade’s research also has been funded by the Charlotte Newcombe Foundation, and the Philadelphia Mayor’s Commission, amongst others. She holds a Master’s degree in Educational Linguistics and Intercultural Communication and a Graduate Certificate in Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies from the University of Pennsylvania and a Postgraduate Diploma in Intercultural Studies from the University of the Basque Country located in Donostia-San Sebastián, Spain where she was a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar. She has spent four years teaching at Temple University in the School of Media and Communication. Before coming to Temple, she taught for two years at the University of the Arts as Senior Lecturer of Liberal Arts and Spanish. She was a Visiting Professor of International Programs at Instituto Tecnológico y de Studios Superiores de Monterrey (ITESM), Querétaro, Mexico. She speaks fluent Spanish. Meade is an Early Career Representative of Language and Social Interaction Division at the International Communication Association and serves as a reviewer for the Global Fusion Conference and for the International Communication Association Convention.