Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Dr. Jennie Burnet

Second Advisor

Dr. Kathryn Kozaitis

Third Advisor

Dr. Jennifer Patico


This thesis addresses the questions of how eastern Kentucky activists understand the July 2022 flooding, its impact on their lives, the lives of flood survivors, and what they and flood survivors want for the future and how eastern Kentucky are communities recovering from disaster. The goal of this research project was to collect community experiences, perspectives, and goals and to document recovery efforts. After analyzing 11 interviews with eastern Kentucky activists and participant observation data, I argue that the structural inequities related to coal mining influenced vulnerability, flood experiences, and recovery efforts. I also argue that the strong sense of community present in eastern Kentucky serves as a basis for improved recovery and resilience efforts. Better understanding the context of the flooding can aid eastern Kentucky activists, flood survivors, and allies in recovering, addressing structural violence, and preparing for the future.


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