Title page for ETD etd-11132012-152821


Type of Document Dissertation
Author Vaughn, Holley Ann
Author's Email Address holleyvaughn@gmail.com
URN etd-11132012-152821
Title A Critical Ethnography of The Myrtles Plantation in St. Francisville, Louisiana with Ruminations on Hauntology
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Department Communication Studies
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Stephenson Shafer, Tracy Committee Chair
Allison, John M. Committee Member
Bowman, Michael Committee Member
Hall, Rachel Committee Member
Keywords
  • performance
  • tourism
  • ghosts
  • Louisiana
  • haunting
  • plantations
  • ethnography
Date of Defense 2012-08-31
Availability unrestricted
Abstract
This study examines how ghosts perform and are performed in southern Louisiana, particularly in the eclectic Baton Rouge enclave of Spanish Town and at The Myrtles Plantation in St. Francisville. Although The Myrtles, considered “one of the most haunted locations in the United States,” served as the genesis for this project, I explore the continuities and discontinuities of the histories and historicities of these two distinct places and my journeys between them over a five year period. Using critical ethnography as a grounding framework, the study draws from literature in tourism studies, performance studies, and other related areas of research, to illustrate how these sites figure histories that are simultaneously informed and troubled by ghostly matters.

The study is structured as a performative journey. Chapter One establishes an itinerary, explaining the theory and methodological tools employed in the study. Chapter Two explores the performance of tourism and the ways in which it is inevitably bound up in increasingly complicated notions of home. As the beginning of the journey, it contextualizes the places that anchor the study. Chapter Three revisits Highway 61 and utilizes this liminal space to examine elided histories that will serve as a context and provide insight into the primary ghost at the heart of this study, Chloe, as well as the other ghosts she brings with her. Chapter Four provides a thick description of the grounds of The Myrtles and uses the categories of touristic performance to examine how tourists navigate the spaces prior to taking a tour. Chapter Five provides the reader with a tour of the house. Performed by three different guides, this tour illustrates how the guides function as mediums between ghosts and guests on the tour. In Chapter Six, I situate this journey in relation to how other scholars employ haunting and hauntology as a theoretical perspective and methodological tool before heading off in another haunted direction that explores implications for future research.

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