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Poirot, Kristan, and Shevaun E. Watson

Summer 2015, 45:2, pages 91-116

Memories of Freedom and White Resilience: Place, Tourism, and Urban Slavery

Abstract: Historical and heritage tourism is a booming industry across the United States, and southern states in particular offer tourists the chance to walk the streets where some of the United States’ most dramatic racial conflicts unfolded. In these contexts, publics are invited to remember slavery in strategic ways. This essay enriches rhetorical studies’ understanding of the relationship between place and public memory by offering a robust consideration of tourism as a constitutive component of memory environments. We do so through a closer look at the memories of urban slavery and rebellion that circulate in Charleston, South Carolina’s historical tourism industry.


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