1st Edition

Authenticity in North America Place, Tourism, Heritage, Culture and the Popular Imagination

Edited By Jane Lovell, Sam Hitchmough Copyright 2020
    220 Pages 14 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    220 Pages 14 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This interdisciplinary book addresses the highly relevant debates about authenticity in North America, providing a contemporary re-examination of American culture, tourism and commodification of place.

    Blending social sciences and humanities research skills, it formulates an examination of the geography of authenticity in North America, and brings together studies of both rurality and urbanity across the country, exposing the many commonalities of these different landscapes. Relph stated that nostalgic places are inauthentic, yet within this work several chapters explore how festivals and visitor attractions, which cultivate place heritage appeal, are authenticated by tourists and communities, creating a shared sense of belonging. In a world of hyperreal simulacra, post-truth and fake news, this book bucks the trend by demonstrating that authenticity can be found everywhere: in a mouthful of food, in a few bars of a Beach Boys song, in a statue of a troll, in a diffuse magical atmosphere, in the weirdness of the ungentrified streets.

    Written by a range of leading experts, this book offers a contemporary view of American authenticity, tourism, identity and culture. It will be of great interest to upper-level students, researchers and academics in Tourism, Geography, History, Cultural Studies, American Studies and Film Studies.

    Introduction Hyper-Authenticity

    Jane Lovell and Sam Hitchmough

    Chapter One The Kept Weird: US American Weird Fiction and cities

    MC McGrady

    Chapter Two Something Like a Circus or a Sewer’: The Thrill and Threat of New York City in American Culture

    Keith McDonald and Wayne Johnson

    Chapter Three "That Chinese guy is where you go if you want egg foo yung": Construction and Subversion of Exotic Culinary Authenticity in David Wong Louie’s The Barbarians are Coming

    Jiachen Zhang

    Chapter Four Good Authentic Vibrations: The Beach Boys, California, and Pet Sounds

    Christopher Kirkby

    Chapter Five A Western Skyline I swear I can see: affective critical rurality expressed through contemporary Americana music.

    Keith Halfacree

    Chapter Six We Sure Didn’t Know’: Laura Gilpin, Mary Ann Nakai, and Cold War Politics on the Navajo Nation

    Louise Siddons

    Chapter Seven Opening the Memory Boxes: Magical Hypereality, Authenticity and the Haida People

    Jane Lovell

    Chapter Eight The Authenticity Paradox and the Western

    Ken Fox

    Chapter Nine Playing at Westworld - Gunfighters and Saloon Girls at the Tombstone Helldorado Festival

    Warwick Frost and Jennifer Laing

    Chapter Ten Hidden in the Mountains: Celebrating Swedish Heritage in Rural Pennsylvania

    Katherine Burlingame

    Chapter Eleven The Triumph of Trolls: The Making, Re-making and Commercialization of Heritage Identity

    Ann Smart Martin. Cortney Anderson-Kramer, and Jared L. Schmidt

    Chapter Twelve ‘It is yet too soon to Write the History of the Revolution’: Fashioning the Memory of Thomas Paine

    Krysten E. Blackstone

    Chapter Thirteen Familiarity breeds content: shaping the nostalgic drift in postbellum plantation life-writing

    David Anderson

    Chapter Fourteen Only Going One Way? Due South’s Role in Sustaining Canadian Television Linda Knowles


    Dr Jane Lovell worked at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden and at Canterbury City Council, where she staged events including sculpture and international light shows. At Canterbury Christ Church University, Jane specialises in teaches Heritage and Creative Industry management and Creative Places. A cultural geographer, visiting fellow at the British Library and Associate Fellow at the UCL Institute of the Americas, she explores tourism, authenticity and places, magical spaces, film locations and researches the light installations that she continues to stage.

    Dr Sam Hitchmough is Senior Lecturer in American Indian History at the University of Bristol, where he is also Director of Teaching/Programme Director in the History Department. He was previously Programme Director for American Studies at Canterbury Christ Church University. His research interests include the Red Power movement, the intersection between patriotism, protest and national narratives, Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Shows in the UK, and the use of American Indian imagery in British popular culture.