Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Anthropology (PhD)

Degree Level





Justin Nolan

Committee Member

Kirstin Erickson

Second Committee Member

George Sabo


Arkansas, Cultural Anthropology, Environmental Activism, Environmental Anthropology, Ozarks, Social Science


The Ozarks is a holey place, an ancient plateau formed from ancient rocks and the sediment of millions of years of living things. The Ozarks is also, from another perspective a place made from a mesh of overlapping lines, lines of migration, lines of living things, lines of water movement over and through the land. This dissertation engages with the practice of conservation and environmentalism as it is performed and lived by Ozarkers and Arkansawyers, natives and transplants. Based on more than a year of ethnographic fieldwork conducted with the Buffalo River Watershed Alliance, Save the Ozarks, Arkansas Master Naturalists, and with Hobbs State Park-Conservation Area, this dissertation examines how emotion, affect, enacted knowledge through performance, and strategic reinterpretations of the nature of political engagement are all part of a local system of conservation. In this dissertation, I seek to analyze links between individual emotion, social performance of expertise, political organization, and conceptual understandings of the physiogeography of the land.