Southern Hospitality and the Politics of African American Belonging: An Analysis of North Carolina Tourism Brochure Photographs

By Alderma, Derek H.; Modlin, E. Arnold, Jr. | Journal of Cultural Geography, February 2013 | Go to article overview

Southern Hospitality and the Politics of African American Belonging: An Analysis of North Carolina Tourism Brochure Photographs


Alderma, Derek H., Modlin, E. Arnold, Jr., Journal of Cultural Geography


Introduction

In the now classic book The Middle West, James "Pete" Shortridge described his work as "unconventional geography." Distancing himself from the scientific method, which still had a powerful hold on American human geography at the time, he offered a "humanistic" or interpretive analysis of the Midwest (Shortridge 1989, p. xiii). In contrast to the tradition of treating regions as tightly bound cultural areas with a single, essential character, Shortridge studied the Midwest as a constantly shifting idea open to any number of different and sometimes competing meanings and interpretations. In his words, the Midwest represented a "place of idealism and democratic temperament" for some, "but to others bland, materialistic, and conservative" (Shortridge 1989, p. I). He drew from imagery in novels, political cartoons, advertisements, and later photography to uncover important historical changes in what the region symbolized to Midwesterners and the rest of the United States. (1) Among his many accomplishments, Shortridge demonstrated the importance of cultural perception and representation to regional analysis and how regionalization is characterized by tension and contradiction.

In the more than twenty years since the publication of The Middle West, what began as an "unconventional" approach has become a standard methodology among many geographers. Current research emphasizes the socially constructed nature of regional identity, and there is now a well-established tradition of analyzing the texts, images, and discourses that work to define the identity and meaning of regions (e.g., Blake 1995; Entrikin 1996; Alderman and Good 1997; Paasi 2003; Mains 2004; Schlemper 2004; Dittmer 2006; Aiken 2009). Scholars increasingly recognize that representing the world is not neutral, but inherently ideological and selective. It is a social practice that makes certain people, places, and perspectives appear legitimate while rendering others invisible and seemingly unimportant. There is also recognition that these cultural representations, no matter how seemingly innocent or trite they may appear, are embedded within wider power relations and identity struggles. As the product of uneven social relations, they participate in reproducing and resisting patterns of cultural dominance and marginalization (Barnes and Duncan 1992; Lutz and Collins 1993; Shurmer-Smith 2002; Kneale 2003).

It is the relationship between regional identity, the politics of representation, and social inequality that interests us and guides the writing of this paper. In particular, we are interested in examining tourism marketing as a platform for constructing socially selective images of the American South and assessing, conceptually and empirically, the visibility of African Americans within these promotional images. (2) The regional images communicated to tourists are more than mere advertisements. They seek to encapsulate the culture and history of the South, why it matters, and for whom it matters. Scholars have observed in other regional contexts that tourism promotions often reflect a privileged white male gaze that obscures, if not completely ignores, the experiences of minorities while also perpetuating racist stereotypes. When minorities are depicted, they are often shown as servants and entertainers rather than tourists, clearly limiting their identity both as legitimate members of host communities and as welcomed visitors (Pritchard and Morgan 2000; Martin 2004; Buzinde et al. 2006; Klemm and Burton 2006). Representations such as these, as Kevin Dunn (2003, p. 162) would argue, are politically important and reflect an "uneven cultural distribution of citizenship" that places serious constraints on the minority struggle for empowerment and belonging.

Few studies have examined patterns of racial bias in the marketing of southern tourism destinations (but see Mellinger 1994). This is surprising given the growing market importance of minority tourism, which generated 19% of domestic travel spending in the U. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Southern Hospitality and the Politics of African American Belonging: An Analysis of North Carolina Tourism Brochure Photographs
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.