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Tourists of History: Memory, Kitsch, and Consumerism from Oklahoma City to Ground Zero

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Tourists of History: Memory, Kitsch, and Consumerism from Oklahoma City to Ground Zero Cover

ISBN13: 9780822341222
ISBN10: 0822341220
Condition: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

In Tourists of History, the cultural critic Marita Sturken argues that over the past two decades, Americans have responded to national trauma through consumerism, kitsch sentiment, and tourist practices in ways that reveal a tenacious investment in the idea of Americaandrsquo;s innocence. Sturken investigates the consumerism that followed from the September 11th attacks; the contentious, ongoing debates about memorials and celebrity-architect designed buildings at Ground Zero; and two outcomes of the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City: the Oklahoma City National Memorial and the execution of Timothy McVeigh.

Sturken contends that a consumer culture of comfort objects such as World Trade Center snow globes, FDNY teddy bears, and Oklahoma City Memorial t-shirts and branded water, as well as reenactments of traumatic events in memorial and architectural designs, enables a national tendency to see U.S. culture as distant from both history and world politics. A kitsch comfort culture contributes to a andldquo;touristandrdquo; relationship to history: Americans can feel good about visiting and buying souvenirs at sites of national mourning without having to engage with the economic, social, and political causes of the violent events. While arguing for the importance of remembering tragic losses of life, Sturken is urging attention to a dangerous confluenceandmdash;of memory, tourism, consumerism, paranoia, security, and kitschandmdash;that promulgates fear to sell safety, offers prepackaged emotion at the expense of critical thought, contains alternative politics, and facilitates public acquiescence in the federal governmentandrsquo;s repressive measures at home and its aggressive political and military policies abroad.

Synopsis:

Study of how the memorials created in Oklahoma City and at the World Trade Center site raise questions about the relationship between cultural memory and consumerism.

About the Author

Marita Sturken is a professor of culture and communication at New York University. She is the author of Tangled Memories: The Vietnam War, the AIDS Epidemic, and the Politics of Remembering and a coauthor of Practices of Looking: An Introduction to Visual Culture.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction 1

1. Consuming Fear and Selling Comfort 35

2. Citizens and Survivors: Cultural Memory and Oklahoma City 93

3. The Spectacle of Death and the Spectacle of Grief: The Execution of Timothy McVeigh 139

4. Tourism and andldquo;Sacred Groundandrdquo;: The Space of Ground Zero 165

5. Architectures of Grief and the Aesthetics of Absence 219

Conclusion 287

Notes 295

Bibliography 319

Index 333

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

Ashley Bowen, September 30, 2011 (view all comments by Ashley Bowen)
For me to review this book, I need to separate the writing from the ideas. The ideas were 4 star-- Sturken is a great thinker when it comes to notions of cultural memory, mourning, and representations of loss. I adored her other book, "Tangled Memories: The Vietnam War, the AIDS Epidemic, and the Politics of Remembering," and this one is very-much in the same vein.

However, the writing and organization in this one was just too much for me. Two stars at best... Hence, the three star rating. It was incredibly disjointed, circled back on itself, and took on way too much without the appropriate level of detail. There were points where I felt like Sturken was talking herself into the argument as she was writing it. There were places where I felt she pushed the argument too far and places where she didn't make obvious connections to other sections of the book. Organizing it by theme rather than site might have helped with some of this disjointedness. Also, the fact that Timothy McVeigh gets a whole chapter while the trial of the 9/11 hijackers is left unmentioned is such an obvious oversight! Her arguments about how memory impacts justice would have been helped by including at least a mention of that controversy.

I think that a good editor should have been given one more pass at it before sending it off to print.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No

Product Details

ISBN:
9780822341222
Author:
Sturken, Marita
Publisher:
Duke University Press
Subject:
Popular Culture
Subject:
Social history
Subject:
Oklahoma City Federal Building Bombing, Oklah
Subject:
United States - 21st Century
Subject:
United States - 20th Century (1945 to 2000)
Subject:
National characteristics, american
Subject:
Popular culture -- United States.
Subject:
World History-General
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Publication Date:
20071131
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English
Illustrations:
119 illustrations
Pages:
360
Dimensions:
9.25 x 6.13 in

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » American Studies » General
History and Social Science » American Studies » Popular Culture
History and Social Science » Sociology » American Studies
History and Social Science » US History » 20th Century » General
History and Social Science » US History » General
History and Social Science » World History » General

Tourists of History: Memory, Kitsch, and Consumerism from Oklahoma City to Ground Zero Used Trade Paper
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Product details 360 pages Duke University Press - English 9780822341222 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by ,
Study of how the memorials created in Oklahoma City and at the World Trade Center site raise questions about the relationship between cultural memory and consumerism.
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