Authentic Baltimore: Defining the People and Places of an Urban Ethnoscape

dc.contributor.authorTalken-Spaulding, Jennifer M.
dc.creatorTalken-Spaulding, Jennifer M.
dc.description.abstractThis thesis explores theories of multilocality, place-making, ethnoscape, authenticity and vernacular politics as a means of understanding expressions of place and heritage preservation within a complex urban space. Regarding authenticity, heritage and heritage preservation, this thesis contrasts the perspectives of local residents and business owners with city program managers in three neighborhoods of East Baltimore, Maryland. Baltimore, as a field site, is significant because efforts to preserve local heritage and define authentic places have intensified in the last ten years as the effects of urban revitalization are felt in the city’s neighborhoods. Economic growth and a shift from an industrial to a mixed residential-commercial use in some neighborhoods have brought an influx of new ethnic groups and social classes to historically white, working-class neighborhoods. As a result, the number and scope of authenticity programs has increased since the city’s first historic district was designated in 1969. Authenticity programs discussed here include historic districts (as designated by the National Register of Historic Places), the Main Street program (as designated by the National Trust for Historic Preservation and managed by city employees), the state-sponsored Baltimore Heritage Area (as designated by the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority and managed by city employees), and the proposed federally-designated Baltimore National Heritage Area (which would be designated by Congress and associated with the National Park Service). The research was conducted using ethnographic methods of participant observation, face-to- face interview, and study of ethnographic products including artwork, architecture, festivals, food, newspapers, brochures, flyers, websites, promotional and documentary film and other community publications. Research also included a review of related public records, such as legislation, news releases, feasibility studies, management plans, reports, and official websites. This thesis adds to the growing body of knowledge about the role and impacts of authenticity programs, such as heritage areas, in community development and preservation. It expands the understanding of how ethnographic space is defined and created within an urban setting.
dc.titleAuthentic Baltimore: Defining the People and Places of an Urban Ethnoscape
dc.typeThesis Mason University's of Arts in Anthropology


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