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The Battlefields Are the Only Thing We Have: Archaeology, Race, and Thanatourism in the Trans-Mississippi South

Author(s): Carl Drexler

Year: 2017

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Summary

Archaeology has a long history with the tourism industry. Thanatourism focuses on sites associated with death and violence, such as battlefields, and conflict archaeology can be a powerful means to connect with the public and aid in the development of war-related sites as tourist draws. For American Civil War sites, thanatourism is a potential boon to depressed rural southern economies and a means to improve preservation and interpretation of archeological sites. Archaeologists can have a crucial role in developing these resources, but that role must be clearly thought through to avoid exacerbating the structural violence of popular memory of the conflict. Work now ongoing in Arkansas is beginning to focus on sites specifically identified as tourism resources, and this paper is a meditation on how that work can progress to be more than a retelling of white, Southern narratives for an unreconstructed audience.


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Cite this Record

The Battlefields Are the Only Thing We Have: Archaeology, Race, and Thanatourism in the Trans-Mississippi South. Carl Drexler. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Fort Worth, TX. 2017 ( tDAR id: 435249)


Keywords

General
conflict Memory South

Geographic Keywords
North America United States of America

Temporal Keywords
19th Century


Spatial Coverage

min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 604

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America