With the partnership of the Emory Center for Digital Scholarship (ECDS), I am creating a long-term digital humanities project that uses hundreds of popular travel narratives and guidebooks to document changing perceptions of the American South over two centuries. The South has long been one of the most visited tourist destinations in the entire United States, and tourism transformed the region’s landscapes, contributed money to its economy, and helped to create the most pervasive images (and stereotypes) of the South and Southerners. This project maps travel narratives and guidebooks onto a series of digital maps, which document the major tourist sites in the region, provides descriptions of them directly from travelers, and shows how travel routes and tourists' perceptions of the region changed over time. It also shows how the geography of Southern tourism was shaped by race and class, suggesting that there were multiple tourist "Souths."
This project began as an assignment in my Tourism and Nature course at Emory University, and will be accessible as a stand-alone database that scholars and the public can use to help understand how perceptions of the the South's landscape and people have been shaped by travelers and tourist promoters.
Popular stops for travelers to Charleston, South Carolina (1700s-2000s).