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17:30 - 19:30 26 February 2015
Imagining Dixie: a history of the American South in British popular culture
Lecture Theatre 103 |
UCL – Institute of the Americas
51 Gordon Square | London | WC1H 0PQ | United Kingdom
Ticketing: Pre-booking essential
Dr Christian O'Connell, Senior Lecturer in American History, University of Gloucestershire
This paper focuses on the history of the presence of the American South in British popular culture. A recent flood of television documentaries such as Sir Trevor McDonald’s ‘The Mighty Mississippi’, TV chef Rick Stein’s ‘Tasting the Blues,' and the comedian Hugh Laurie’s ‘Down By the River’ (2011), are indicative of the current popular transatlantic interest in the history and culture of the South.
Cultural historian Christian O'Connell examines how these popular explorations are part of a series of transatlantic reproductions of the South, represented by the visits of the Fisk Jubilee Singers in the 19th century, the popularity of mid-20th century television programme The Black and White Minstrel Show, and the blues revival of the 1950s and 1960s. These encounters and reproductions serve to maintain and revive popular stereotypes of the South, which in turn blur myth, imagination and history.
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