Just another stop on the tour texas patriotism at the alamo kip austin hinton
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Just Another Stop on the Tour: Texas Patriotism at the Alamo Kip Austin Hinton. For tour guides, what is the Alamo’s meaning, and how is that meaning conveyed to tourists? What is and is not included in each guide’s Alamo story, and why?

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Just another stop on the tour texas patriotism at the alamo kip austin hinton l.jpg

Just Another Stop on the Tour: Texas Patriotism at the AlamoKip Austin Hinton

For tour guides, what is the Alamo’s meaning, and how is that meaning conveyed to tourists?

What is and is not included in each guide’s Alamo story, and why?

How do they see their role, in relation to tourists and the Alamo itself?


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Literature

  • Tourism Studies: an interdisciplinary venture, considers economic, sociocultural, and ideological implications of the industry (Hall, 1994). Tourism creates intimate points of contact across ethnicity, nationality, language, and class. Power is exercised and ideology is spread through words and images (Cohen-Hattab, 2004; Sönmez, 1998; Butler, 1990).

  • Critical Texana: Flores (2002)focuses on Alamo as “a construction of the dominant” – more as symbol than actuality (p. 109). Brear (1995) addresses religiousity and explicit indoctrination. “White female heroines reinforce – in tourist mythology if not in reality – the contested border between the United States and Mexico” (Bost, 2003).

  • While countless studies have focused on the Alamo as symbol, few have addressed the Alamo of today as a site (Winders, 2005).


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Methodology

  • My study uses participant observation (DeWalt & DeWalt, 2005); qualitative interviews (Glesne, 1999); “extended case method” (Burawoy, 1991); and coding (Emerson, Fretz, & Shaw, 1995)

  • I listened to over a dozen Alamo Speeches and many tourists. Most important to me is the self-perception of “Anglo-Texan patriots.” I conducted interviews with ten tour guides and docents – the experts, the primary conduit between the Alamo “party line” and the public. This identity is explicitly chosen.


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Heroes & myth

  • encompasses fictional and quasi-religious aspects of the Alamo.

  • I want people to understand that, there is a cost to freedom. Freedom is bought in blood. Freedom is one of the privileges that we in the, American society enjoy. At a… a great price. Sometimes, we as individuals do not personally pay, for that freedom. But collectively, we do. At a very high price. The people at the Alamo, paid a very high price.


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Historicism

  • invocation and discussion of the evidence and details of past events, especially war and biography

  • “We are a historical site, but also a shrine. People, plenty of people think that you think of the Alamo, you should be reverent. It’s a shrine – doesn’t need explanation. People remember the Alamo – but they don’t know why. To blindly expect someone to acknowledge the, shrineness of the place without the history, is really too much to ask.”


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Inclusion

  • explicitly claims the Alamo arose from multiple communities, and that all communities have an interest in the site today

  • “Anglo and Tejano men had, in fact, signed a Declaration of Independence. The Alamo soldiers were defending, a, republic. They were Anglo. Tejano. Mestizo. Indian. They were American, Mexican, European. They were freed slaves – because slavery was outlawed in Mexico.”


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Divisiveness

  • excludes and demeans a particular group of people, regardless of intention

  • A skinny Anglo Air Force cadet was walking with his family after listening to a traditionalist version of the History Talk. “Look out, there’s a Mexican!” he said, pointing to the wall behind a young Anglo boy. The boy turned abruptly, looking frightened, jumped off the bench and ran off while the family laughed. “He thought I was serious,” joked the cadet. “He really looked scared.”


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Tourism

  • communicative behavior which reduces the Alamo to a “stop on the tour,” not unique or worth considering on its own terms; the ritual of sightseeing is passively acted out

  • “I wasn’t ready for a history lesson, I thought they were gonna make a battle scene or something.”


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Politics

  • political situations and struggles, past or present

  • At this point, there is new political party in Mexico, the Centralists. They do not believe in federalism, they do not believe in democracy. The American immigrants come from a democracy, they are not interested in a non-representational government. Americans then and now, what do they demand? No taxation, without, what? Without representation. Right.


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Information control

  • the acknowledged attempt to shape messages and claim ownership

  • “We’re not supposed to talk to the press, to journalists. They come in and ask a few questions and publish very surface, one-dimensional stories of what goes on here. It's easy to misinterpret.”


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Conclusion

  • “An increasing number of Texans and Americans have little desire to ‘Remember the Alamo’ ” (Brear, 1995, p. 1).

  • The visible presence of Latinos and the Spanish language reflect an important shift in DRT policy. More importantly, the hagiography of Anglo heroes is now tempered with visual and verbal recognition of specific Tejanos

  • There is still virtual denial of unseemly aspects of the Alamo and its defenders – the slavery practiced, the land expropriated, the lynchings inspired

  • Every new visitor is a new opportunity to admit past injustice and right what is wrong. It falls on the shoulders of the DRT, and their tour guides, to address all “the People of Texas.”


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