Sojourn in Savannah: Examining the City’s Historical Markers Through A Content and Spatial Analysis

Authors: Linnea Ryan*, , Amy Potter*, Georgia Southern University, Meimei Lin, Georgia Southern University
Topics: Cultural Geography, Landscape, Tourism Geography
Keywords: cultural geography, tourism, memory, landscape
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 5:00 PM / 6:40 PM
Room: Roosevelt 3, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Savannah, Georgia hosts the largest historic landmark district in the United States, and the picturesque historic downtown is a popular area amongst the millions of tourists who visit the city annually. Throughout the district, Savannah’s history is written and displayed on historical markers in the squares and along the sidewalks. Given the volume of tourists who visit the city, this research examines the ways these markers represent the city’s complex history to both visitors and locals using spatial and content analysis. This study builds on the work of geographers who have examined not only the text on historic markers but also their spatial location in the landscape. Utilizing GIS, we examine marker proximity to museums, trolley and walking tours. We measured the distance between the locations and routes to determine the likeliness of visitor interaction with individual markers. This project also includes a content analysis of the markers, where we found that of the 95 historical markers, most are focused on remembering individual white men or the actions of white men. This is largely to the exclusion of Savannah’s women, the majority African American community, the vibrant Jewish population, and the original pre-colonial coastal Georgia Native American population, which are all represented in a combined 17 markers.

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