Browse Exhibits (4 total)
The greeting card has been around for centuries, and its purpose has communicated many messages through the sender-receiver process. When we ask ourselves why we feel the need to send greeting cards, we might be left with a few answers. Whether it is to share an experience with a loved one from a distant place or simply to say hello, greeting cards were, and still are, a popular and beloved medium of communication.
This exhibit explores the genre of the greeting card, and how it uses text and visual images to convey meanings about a specific place. In particular, its goal is to examine Florida postcards, and why certain images were chosen to greet the audience, or receivers, of these postcards. With a proper visual analysis, we will be able to better understand the relationship between Florida and why the greeting card is an appropriate medium for persuading receivers to believe certain claims about it.
For easy evaluation, I've organized the Florida greeting cards into several categories which represent the strongest and most influential appeals used to convince receivers into believing distinct ideas about Florida. The following categories include, but are not limited to: attractions, animals, nature, travel, and poetry. Using these greeting cards, we can make the argument that Florida’s goal is to persuade receivers to either visit Florida on vacation, or more extremely, to adopt their idea of how a person’s lifestyle should be by ultimately moving there.
In On Photography, Susan Sontag notes that “It seems positively unnatural to travel for pleasure without taking a camera along. Photographs will offer indisputable evidence that the trip was made, that the program was carried out, that fun was had. Photographs document sequences of consumption carried on outside the view of family, friends, neighbors” (6). Photographs certify experiences including those involving consumption of new sights, sounds and flavors. Sontag’s comments on the nature of photography and consumption can be applied to postcards with ease. The postcard, particularly the travel postcard, serves as a document of an experience, of seeing, of tasting, of knowing, one that persuades others of the virtue and authenticity of that which we experienced.
It wasn’t until the 18th century that our modern conception of a restaurant began to evolve in the United States. The University of Las Vegas Nevada houses an archive of restaurant menus, and UNLV historiographers state, “In America, what we would term a "restaurant"—a business existing solely to serve meals, as opposed to a place of lodging that also served meals—came into being in the late 18th century.” (“Early Restaurants in America”). Other terms such as “eating house” and “dining room” may have been used as well. In the 19th century, the popularity of the restaurant grew with the expansion of cities and most restaurants tended to be found in urban areas. By the 20th century, the number of restaurants in America skyrocketed as the result of “suburbanization of urban areas and a new affluent middle class” (“Early Restaurants in America”).
The postcards that I have culled from the FSU Postcard Archive give evidence that the restaurant occupied a distinct place in the American conciousness (and since I’ve included some non-American postcards, I would posit more simply a Western conciousness), places that offered distinctions of class status and taste can be seen in “Visions of Oppulence”, places that show the relationship between Americans and automobiles can be seen in “In Case You Need Directions” and in “Roadside Eats”, and finally, places where cultural practices were shared can be seen in “Cultural Experiences.” The restaurant occupied a place in the minds of Americans in their conceptions of social space, and in their conceptions of leisure and pleasure. If we look at these postcards in terms of writing and composition the postcard serves as a document of authenticity both visually and textually. A rhetor can certify a moment of awe and pleasure (and maybe even happiness), and then share that moment with an audience, audiences that they might have wished were there with them to share in the experience (and also the food).
"Berchtesgadener Hof." Third Reich In Ruins. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Feb. 2015.
"Grand Pump Room, Bath." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 02 Feb. 2015.
Hotel Sandplacken. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Feb. 2015.
"Interstate Highway System." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 02 Feb. 2015.
"The History of the Restaurant." Menus: The Art of Dining. University of Nevada Las Vegas, n.d. Web. 02 Feb. 2015.
"The Roman Baths & Pump Room." Best Loved.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Feb. 2015.
Sontag, Susan. ""In Plato's Cave"" On Photography. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1977. N. pag. Print.
Food as a Representation of Place
Food is a carrier of culture. This makes sense: we all have to eat, after all, and what we eat depends on what grows in our area, and how we are able to harvest and prepare it. Methods of food harvesting and preparation quickly become part of our traditions and daily life.
But after centuries of industrialization, globalization, and commercialization, food has lost its regional boundaries. We no longer need to travel to India to get palak paneer or Italy to get fresh Italian pasta--we just have to look up a restaurant or go to a grocery store.
Despite this reality, we continue to view food as an integral part of a region’s culture, and consider eating “authentic” regional dishes to an integral part of our visit. How do images of food and food production have such lasting power over our perceptions of place? Even if those perceptions have little or no grounding in reality, how do images of food still have such an immediate and strong connection to a place, and to deeper ideas about its culture?
In the collection Discourse, Communication, and Tourism, Adam Jaworski and Annette Pritchard posit that postcards act as “rich cultural reservoirs of popular perceptions and emotional geographies of people and places and, as ‘commonsense’ understandings of ethnographic knowledge, constitute a ‘moment’ in the circularity of knowledge and power” (10). Postcards serve as more than a form of communication and correspondence because they have a “heteroglossic” and multimodal value meaning “they ‘mix’ or ‘hybridize’ different genres…allow[ing] them to orient to their multiple stances and goals” (Jaworski and Pritchard 7). Though these authors do focus on different kinds of tourist postcards ranging from holiday cards to cards featuring indigenous peoples, they do not describe recipe postcards. In this exhibit, we would like to argue that recipe postcards have a similar significance in their ability to represent localized ethnographic knowledge. Because recipe postcards have meaningful content within both local and domestic spheres, we would also like to connect these postcards to a kind of performative and shared knowledge traditionally kept out of public circulation systems (such as tourism) and more representative of an intimate, everyday writing performed by women. How do postcards and recipes, two genres of writing that have a high social value, interact when this hybrid genre, the recipe postcard, is produced, sold, and circulated? How do different producers of the recipe postcard affect the purpose, circulation, and “authenticity” of the card’s knowledge? If recipes serve as a kind of legacy, how does circulating and mass producing that knowledge illustrate “the multiple stances and goals” Jaworski and Pritchard mention? These are all things we would like to trace as we analyze the range of recipe postcards currently available through FSU’s Postcard Archive.
Jaworski, Adam, and Pritchard, Annette, eds. Discourse, Communication, and Tourism. Clevedon, GBR: Channel View Publications, 2005. ProQuest ebrary. Web. 18 February 2016.