Browsing by Subject "esite"

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  • McVeigh, Tytti (Helsingfors universitet, 2015)
    This thesis investigates the development of the visibility of slavery in the brochures of four Virginia plantations over a time period of 90 years. The four plantations are Monticello, Mount Vernon, Belle Grove, and Long Branch, all of different sizes but with similar pasts as sites of enslavement prior to the abolishment of slavery in 1865. The goal is to discover how and why the narrative of slavery has changed over the years, and if any larger societal changes may have contributed to this development. As tour brochures have the ability to affect a visitor’s interpretation of a site, it is important to understand what type of discourses and images are directing the visitor’s gaze in the brochures. It is equally vital to attempt to understand the reasoning behind those choices of language and imagery. In this thesis, Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) is used to discover what is being said, what is left unsaid, and why those decisions were made. The primary sources for this thesis are the print brochures collected at each plantation and the plantation websites. The material is primarily analyzed using textual analysis although some image analysis is also included to give a more comprehensive understanding of the content of the brochures. In addition, secondary sources are used to support the historical and conceptual framework of the thesis. The main result of this thesis is that the visibility of slavery in plantation brochures has developed from non-existent or minimal to attempted integration. Until the late 1970s the institution of slavery and the experiences of the enslaved, if mentioned, are trivialized, marginalized, and/or segregated. Slow but steady progress in increasing the presence of slavery in the brochures can be witnessed throughout the years as the general opinion in the United States became more accepting, even demanding, of racial equality. No individual event or phenomenon has had a direct impact on the content of the brochures but a clear development into including slavery can be seen. Based on the results, it is the conclusion of this thesis that the main themes of the brochures have not changed very much since the 1920s. Owner families, prestigious guests, architecture, gardens, and the achievements of the wealthy owners have remained the main focus of attention although some new themes can be found in the more recent brochures. It is also evident that these themes persist at the expense of others, such as slavery, bringing about an interesting discussion of remembering and forgetting. In addition, these conclusions raise an important question about the roles of plantation museums as educators, entertainers, and research facilities.