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Commodification of American Cities

In The Travel Habit, WPA guidebooks by Melanie1 Comment

In the article “The American Guide Series: Patriotism as Brand-Name Identification,” Andrew Gross addresses some of the inherent issues with the writing of the WPA guidebooks as they relate to tourism in America. In the article, Gross explains that the purpose of these guidebooks was to bring about consumer spending, which could potentially boost the economy during times of extreme …

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Sacrifice by All for All

In The Travel Habit, WPA guidebooks by SnacksLeave a Comment

Steven Kurutz’s “The Depressing Food of the Depression, in ‘A Square Meal’ “ is a fascinating read, and one I had been looking forward to all semester. I don’t know if anyone else had this experience in the course, but whenever I visited our class website, travelstudies.org, the link to the Kurutz piece was always the first article that popped …

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How WPA guidebooks gave Arizona and South Dakota a Sense of their own Statehood

In The Travel Habit, WPA guidebooks by KirilLeave a Comment

I find myself quite interested in the notion of how the writing of such guidebooks might have not just provided the nation with directions on how to travel, but indeed given a nation so rife with strife a better notion of itself; and not only that, but provided individual states with a sense of what was great about their state, …

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The Commodification of Travel.

In The Travel Habit, WPA guidebooks by IanLeave a Comment

It is clear when looking at the travel guides were used for the commodification of differences. Before the government initiative of the travel guides the difference in lifestyles was already present in modern literature and art, artists were already using the cultural hardships of others to get ahead. But the travel guides went a step farther in, “it transforms local …

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The New Consumer

In The Travel Habit, WPA guidebooks by DennisLeave a Comment

The American Guides Series was published during the Great Depression as a work detailing major landmarks and attractions of each state of the country at the time. The initial reaction to these works is that they were simply guides to the country that were meant to promote tourism. However, recent scholars have identified these guides as problematic from a cultural and economic …

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The Government and The Arts

In The Travel Habit, WPA guidebooks by AgneLeave a Comment

‘The US Government’ and ‘The Arts’ seem like two entirely different and unrelated entities. The government seems too bureaucratic to be a patron of the arts. While the art world seems too experimental to try and align itself with a structured government. I understand the thought process of some of the people that Andrew Gross discusses in The American Guide …

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Concrete Jungle

In The Travel Habit, WPA guidebooks by Aadi1 Comment

I was born and raised in New York City. I love learning about the city’s history, so when I saw that there was an old travel guide about the five boroughs I jumped at the chance to read it. I was immediately surprised at how large the travel guide was. At over 800 pages, it was more of a dictionary …

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We Like to Critique Consumerism

In The Travel Habit, WPA guidebooks by Laura1 Comment

The American Guide Series: Patriotism as Brand-Name Identification by Andrew S. Gross depicts tour guides as something that homogenizes a state and suggests that the world is knowable and therefore controllable. He takes tour guides to this realm of discourse that has them as something that is a detriment to our society because they provide safety for the visitor through …

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The Difficulty of Guide Books

In The Travel Habit, WPA guidebooks by Michael1 Comment

In Andrew Gross’s critique of the WPA American guide book, he points to a conflict of interest that many of my classmates have already pointed out. Namely, in producing a guide book about travel in a particular region, it is impossible to convey all of the detail of an area without making the narrative extremely disinteresting. So in order to …

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Living Books

In The Travel Habit, WPA guidebooks by Jaxx3 Comments

Personally, I find that the WPA Guides served as a nice idea to kill two birds with one stone, if you will. One, they put writers to work and 2. They served as a push to get people to travel, for if you had the guide to New Orleans then why not travel New Orleans? I’m a bit mystified, though, …

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On the Commodification of Race

In The Travel Habit, WPA guidebooks by WaxS1 Comment

In the introduction to his article titled “The American Guide Series: Patriotism as Brand-Name Identification,” Andrew S. Gross writes that race does factor into the American Guide Series’ mobilization of the “idioms and strategies of corporate advertising to combat a crisis created by corporate capitalism” (2), but as background information. Race is, he says, “included in the scenery as an …

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Stereotypes in Guidebooks

In The Travel Habit, WPA guidebooks by Khirad2 Comments

The popularity of travel guides intersects with a variety of themes on the role of art and government, the complexities of cultural exchange, and the role of the average American in the development of regional identity. However, one of the most interesting aspects of these travel guides is the author’s preferred method in addressing regional culture and stereotypes through their …

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The Love Story that is America and Consumption

In The Travel Habit, WPA guidebooks by Lu Maw2 Comments

The WPA guidebooks illustrate the ability travel and tourism has in increasing consumption and appearing to alleviate social conflict through standardization. While the various options of people places and things found in the United States might hint towards a diverse country, the nation’s consistent return to maximizing consumption and free market capitalism constrains its ability to become anything but a …

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When Travel Guides Act as Propaganda and Confine Cultures

In The Travel Habit, WPA guidebooks by Veronica2 Comments

In “The American Guide Series: Patriotism as Brand-Name Identification,” Andrew Gross critiques Franklin D Roosevelt’s Federal Project One. “The American Guides mobilized the idioms and strategies of corporate advertising to combat a crisis created by corporate capitalism itself” (Gross 2), according to Gross. Essentially, the government sought to give writers who were previously unemployed as a result of the Great …