Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

M.A. in Anthropology


Sociology and Anthropology

First Advisor

Marcos Mendoza

Second Advisor

Catarina Passidomo

Third Advisor

Simone Delerme

Relational Format



This thesis assesses the socio-environmental afterlives of the Tellico Dam controversy that affected citizens of Loudon, Blount, and Monroe Counties in East Tennessee. The central goal is to understand the impacts that development-induced displacement and resettlement had on communities following dam construction. The people from the aforementioned counties witnessed the landscape transform from one that had an abundance of farmland to an area where the farmland is diminished due to the creation of the dam, the reservoir, and the waterfront properties that surround the reservoir. This project analyzes these post-Tellico Dam impacts in terms of waterfront property development, gentrification, land dispossession, new forms of resource use, and environmental change, as well as political mobilization in the decades since Tellico was built. Using Margaret Rodman’s multivocality approach to understanding place, this study discusses individual feelings of place attachment from various actors who have ascribed meanings to the multiple dimensions of Tellico. David Harvey’s theory of dispossession is then used to understand how the multivocal perspectives of Tellico are continuing to develop alongside ongoing processes of accumulation by dispossession. I argue that the Tellico Valley is a palimpsest of visions of capitalist progress in which the past and contemporary processes of accumulation by dispossession have led Tellico to become a contested place-in-the-making. Qualitative data from participant observation and ethnographic interviews with 34 individuals are used to support the main argument. This study is the first ethnographic study of the post-Tellico landscape and its socio-environmental afterlives.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.