Public memory, tourism, and Galveston’s selective heritage : a rhetorical analysis of the Elissa.
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Bissell, Jaclyn L.
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This study explores the rhetorical construction of 1877 iron barque Elissa as a tourist attraction on the island of Galveston, Texas. Focusing on a localized construction of public memory, this study asks questions centered on the presentation and privileging of narratives purposefully aimed at creating a consumable attraction. Since her rescue and decade-long restoration in the late 1970s, the Elissa has been rhetorically constructed as a tourist attraction, redirecting attention from Galveston’s realities of poverty in favor of a memory capable of being sold. Privileging a specific interpretation of race, class, and selecting an era as representative of Galveston as a whole, the Elissa enacts culture via consumable memory. In other words, instead of teaching patriotism or engaging in memorialization, the Elissa enacts a memory to be visited, experienced, and consumed.