This article reads the Smithsonian’s annual folklife festival as a cultural product buffeted by changing material conditions and funding constraints as the United States transitioned from a Fordist industrial economy to a post-Fordist information economy. Based upon visitor interviews, promotional materials, and news reports, this article argues that the transition from a national to an international framework reconfigured the role of Appalachia in visitors’ imaginations. In 2002, Appalachia represented ideals of "nation" and "home" in contrast to tantalizing and threatening foreign cultures and allowed visitors to entertain the wishful belief that the United States was a simple place peopled by simple denizens innocent of imperial ambitions.

The text of this article is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.