October 17, 2017
On September 25, Jodi Skipper, Assistant Professor of Anthropology & Southern Studies, gave an invited lecture at the University of Tennessee as part of a visiting lecture series on violence. Dr. Skipper’s presentation, “Touring Violence: History and Memory in Mississippi,” reflected on the relationship between historical violence and tourism.
Tourism has a $6 billion impact on the Mississippi economy and ranks 6th in total statewide employment. Heritage tourism, through Native American mound, Civil War Era, blues, and Civil Rights Era sites, is one focus in the state’s attempt to frame and rebrand its history. One example is the “Mississippi: Birthplace of America’s Music” slogan that greets motorists at the state line. Her lecture investigated the politics of dealing with difficult heritages while managing African American heritage tourism initiatives at local levels. These politics intersect the state’s current battles with endemic poverty, reputation for racial intolerance, stark social inequalities, and inadequate education programs.