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J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 0 79 Dixie Emporium: Tourism, Foodways, and Consumer Culture in the American South. Edited by Anthony J. Stanonis. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2008. ix, 296 pp. $59.95 (cloth). ISBN 978-0-8203-2951-2. $24.95 (paper). ISBN 978-0-8203-3169-0. Dixie Emporium is a tour de force by a baker’s dozen of scholars who take readers on a ride through the various Souths of Krispy Kreme doughnut stores, Pedro’s wares at South of the Border, black Christian homes in the Mississippi Delta, “hillbilly” heavens in Missouri, civil rights memorials in Alabama, the Hon Fest festival in Baltimore, and more. The essays derive from a conference and conversations in 2005 and reveal the many new directions of discovering multiple Souths through studies of material culture, folklore, oral history, architecture and industrial design, merchandising , foodways, and the bric-a-brac people have made, marketed, and collected. The book is divided into three intersecting sections, each introduced with a critical essay by a major scholar remarking on the utility of their particular contents. One theme running through the collection is the ways objects both reflect the values of the people who crafted and collected them and project images of particular Souths for both external and internal consumption . Thus, for example, Eric Plaag shows how northerners gathered up a variety of souvenirs and mementos in the antebellum South and came away enchanted with a pastoral South at odds with abolitionists’ renderings . Karen Cox neatly presents white southerners’ marketing of massproduced goods literally and figuratively stamped with the Lost Cause mythic South in the late nineteenth into the early twentieth century. Such objects not only sold a nostalgic Dixie to the nation but also reinforced regional identity at home. Black Christians in the Delta, John Giggie shows, used beautified churches and homes to build their sense of dignity and belie whites’ depictions of them as uncouth and ignorant people. Most curious is the popularity of the Horny Hillbilly, a Chinesemade plastic figurine sold at tourist stops. As Patrick Huber reveals, the appeal of the Horny Hillbilly is its grotesquely large member jutting out from the body, a statement of raw sexuality and vulgarity. So much for a sophisticated “new” South. Countering such stereotypes of hillbillies, argues Aaron Ketchell, were the tourist sites developed in and around Branson, Missouri, that presented the Ozark mountain people as washed in the blood of the Lamb and offering up wholesome country fare in music and manners. Another section of the book addresses the role that food preparation, sale, and consumption has played in shaping identities and pushing T H E A L A B A M A R E V I E W 80 interests. Anthony Stanonis, for example, examines the ways southern foods and eating patterns fed white conceptions of a proper racial and social order. Carolyn de la Peña makes a fascinating case for the appeal of Krispy Kreme, deriving as much from the customers’ ability to see the doughnuts made in a clean, sleek industrial process as from the fresh, warm taste of the doughnuts. Thus, eating a Krispy Kreme was as much participation and validation as it was consumption. On a different scale was the success of Alan Schafer, the Jewish South Carolinian who set up South of the Border and made money from selling liquor, then food, and moreso all manner of gewgaws, cheap wares, and anything to meet travelers’ needs heading north or south across the Carolinas. As Nicole King demonstrates well, Schafer used his location and profits to challenge Jim Crow laws and practices by pitching his goods and place to all comers irrespective of race, while also mocking southern pretensions to gentility. Of particular interest to Alabamians is Glen Eskew’s perceptive and provocative take on the selling of civil rights. He notes the shift in heritage tourism from Civil War sites to ones representing key moments in the civil rights movement. Therein, Alabama has a special claim, with its historic sites and museums in Montgomery, Birmingham, and Selma especially marking the freedom trail. The memory and memorialization of the...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2166-9961
Print ISSN
0002-4341
Pages
pp. 79-80
Launched on MUSE
2012-07-11
Open Access
No
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