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Southern attraction, southern attractions: a photographic essay

David Wharton (Center for the Study of Southern Culture, University of Mississippi, Mississippi, Lafayette, USA)

International Journal of Culture, Tourism and Hospitality Research

ISSN: 1750-6182

Article publication date: 6 June 2008




The purpose of this paper is to explore some of the ways various tourist attractions in the American South are presented to and experienced by tourists.


A sequence of photographs, made at tourist attractions across the south, is presented. Accompanying each photograph is a paragraph‐length text that draws from and expands upon information available in the visual image. In these texts, various observations about tourism in the south are made.


The paper comments upon the tourist experience in the south and highlights the central roles of historical tourism, heritage tourism, civil rights tourism, and cultural tourism. Highlights the problematic nature of packaging the region's sometimes troublesome past for tourist consumption.

Research limitations/implications

Because the findings are grounded in photographs made by the author, they are inherently “anecdotal” in character.


This original photographic essay shows and comments upon a wide variety of experiences available to tourists in the American South. It cautions against trying to make the southern past more palatable to tourists by glossing over unpleasant historical facts.



Wharton, D. (2008), "Southern attraction, southern attractions: a photographic essay", International Journal of Culture, Tourism and Hospitality Research, Vol. 2 No. 2, pp. 102-114.



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Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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