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GCPR Logo. Make a difference. Bridge the gap. Put knowledge into action. Department of Anthropology, PhD student

My name is Cayla Colclasure. I am a historical archaeologist who focuses on community-engaged research in southern Appalachia. I earned my BA in anthropology at the University of Tennessee and my MA in anthropology from the University of Alabama. My dissertation research is examining the lives, labor, and legacies of the imprisoned people who were forced to build the Western North Carolina Railroad during the 1870s-90s under the system of “convict leasing” in McDowell and Jackson counties. In doing this work I have partnered with local organizations, institutions, and individuals to contribute to the ongoing grassroots work of reckoning with the region’s difficult histories and honoring those who were intertwined with racialized state violence through imprisonment and prison labor.