Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Jennifer Patico

Second Advisor

Kathryn A. Kozaitis

Third Advisor

Nicola Sharratt


During the 20th century, wealthy Northern families purchased hundreds of Antebellum plantation estates in the Southeast, altering the meaning of the word “plantation” with profound implications for the historical memory of slavery in the South. Plantation scholars have documented how these sites were restored with re-established traditional hierarchies– a legacy that persists today. Portraying slavery through a lens of paternalism and nostalgia, the plantations reified the pre-existing social order which appraised White authority and Black servitude as natural. The symbolic capital of the post-slavery plantation is deeply intertwined with alliances of race and class, influencing which narratives prevail and which are forgotten. Utilizing ethnographic interviews (n=17) and observation, this work documents the negotiations between material change within historic preservation and the popularity of plantation tourism in the region. Seeking an equitable and representative public history of plantations, this work highlights historic actors and resilience which have been obscured.


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