"'Shopping' at the Dixie Emporium is a delightful and thought-provoking experience. This essay collection explores the roles of souvenirs, religion, tourist traps, the civil rights movement, and regionally distinctive foodways in both making and marketing the image of the South. Come on in, check out the tacky trinkets in Branson, Missouri, or at Pedro’s South of the Border, grab a Krispy Kreme doughnut or some crab cakes from the Café Hon, and by all means pick up a 'Horny Hillbilly' before you leave."
—Daniel Pierce, author of The Great Smokies: From Natural Habitat to National Park
The book's first section looks at southern souvenirs as abstractions of regional culture. Essays on such topics as Confederate imagery on consumer goods and the tacky figurine known as the Horny Hillbilly unpack the often incongruous meanings bestowed on souvenirs by their owners. Locales like Branson, Missouri, and the South of the Border tourist complex in South Carolina are discussed in the second section's essays, which consider how tourist sites can both exploit and depend on local culture. Recognizing the deep cultural meanings associated with food and eating, the final group of essays looks at the Krispy Kreme doughnut franchise, the themed Baltimore eatery Café Hon, and other manifestations of southern foodways.
Viewing a region often at odds with itself on matters like race and religion, Dixie Emporium identifies spaces, services, and products that construct various Souths that exaggerate, refute, or self-consciously safeguard elements of southernness.
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