Master of Arts (MA)


Geography and Anthropology

Document Type



Are tourists looking for something resembling the landscape described in the music they listen to or are the cities creating a false front to entice tourists to visualize what was (is?) described in folklore and myths of blues music? This paper will focus on the urban landscape of Beale Street in Memphis, Tennessee and Fariah Street in Jackson, Mississippi. These cities are part of a trend called "new blues tourism" in which these cities, in the Mississippi Delta are promoting an authentic black heritage landscape. My paper critiques the authenticity of this urban heritage landscape. There have been many studies concerning the authenticity of heritage areas. The niche I have found concerns the authenticity of buildings that are being used today for commercial purposes while designated (either de facto or de jury) as part of a heritage area. There are three questions my work looks to answer concerning the components of both districts I researched. Has the building always kept its current function? What significance, if any, did the building hold previously? How do the current owners articulate the building's history? By reading the landscape via photographs (past and present); I am seeking to understand the usage of these buildings in the past and their significance for tourists today. With this knowledge, I seek to have a better understanding as to what attracts tourists to a particular site and what attracts people to refurbish or establish a business that caters to this particular niche of tourists.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Dydia DeLyser