Lauren Hayes

Grant Type

Post PhD Research Grant

Institutional Affiliation

California, Davis, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 9644

Approve Date

April 16, 2018

Project Title

Hayes, Dr. Lauren A., U. of California, Davis, CA - To aid research on 'Creating 'Silicon Holler': High-Tech Labor Transformation in the Coalfields of Appalachia'

Preliminary abstract: This project explores the localization of global software coding technology in rural Appalachian Kentucky in an area that local leaders have recently dubbed ‘Silicon Holler’–a play on Silicon Valley, the U.S. technology hub, and a lexical term for valley in the local speech variety. Focusing on a new training-to-work phenomenon, it explores the experiences of former coal miners, both men and women, who are being specifically recruited by technology companies in Kentucky to enroll in coding and software development programs. The research investigates the discursive, embodied, and semiotic strategies through which companies and former coal miner trainees navigate new demands of individualized cognitive labor and confront dominant local ideals of a gendered work narrative. The research complexifys current global anthropological debates concerning the sustainability of coal mining and the fossil fuel industry, the lived experience and gendered implications of technological globalization, and the effects of job loss and re-training in neoliberal capitalism.