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By Leigh Clemons

Ask someone to call an archetypal Texan, and you are more likely to get a larger-than-life personality from movie or tv (say John Wayne's Davy Crockett or J. R. Ewing of TV's Dallas) or a political candidate with that yes swagger (think LBJ or George W. Bush). that each one of those figures are white and male and bursting with self-confidence isn't any twist of fate, asserts Leigh Clemons. during this considerate research of what makes a ''Texan,'' she unearths how Texan id grew out of the history--and, much more, the myth--of the heroic deeds played by way of Anglo males through the Texas Revolution and the years of the Republic and the way this id is built and maintained through theatre and different representational practices. Clemons appears at quite a lot of venues during which ''Texanness'' is played, together with historical websites similar to the Alamo, the battlefield at Goliad, and the San Jacinto Monument; museums comparable to the Bob Bullock Texas country background Museum; seasonal outdoors dramas equivalent to Texas! at Palo Duro Canyon; movies reminiscent of John Wayne's The Alamo and the IMAX's Alamo: the cost of Freedom; performs and television indicates akin to the Tuna trilogy, Dallas, and King of the Hill; and the Cavalcade of Texas functionality on the 1936 Texas Centennial. She persuasively demonstrates that those performances have created a Texan id that has turn into a model, a commodity that may be offered to the general public or even manipulated for political reasons.

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Extra resources for Branding Texas: Performing Culture in the Lone Star State

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The grandeur of the canyon backdrop is a localized representation of a larger Texan geography. This mise-en-scène is but a fraction of the state’s eternal natural beauty, as evidenced by Calvin’s speech in Act I: “You can look around you here and you can read the record of a lot of the earth’s age—in these walls—a record of death and life that has happened here, Elsie, hundreds of millions of years of it. ”  The cliff face and the lands behind the stage serve a tactical function by allowing the play to interact with the Texas landscape throughout the performance and also allow the “Texans” in the play as well as the audience to position themselves within the eternity of the state by ordering the wild, natural space of the canyon into the place of performance—the town of Henrianna, Texas, and, more generally, the State of Texas itself.

All of these sites are linked by the historical markers and their conferred status. The “trail” created by these markers creates a geographic history of the space that performs the history of the sites and their relevance to Texan cultural identity. Markers literally indicate their spaces as historically important, even if the land has been parceled out or changed in some way. They serve as reminders that the site of today’s Wal-Mart, Jiff y Lube, or crosstown freeway was once the home of a former president of the Republic, part of the Chisholm Trail, or some other place of historical significance.

The dominant image, however, is the Alamo façade, which is located in the center of the second floor, prominently enough to draw every entering eye—whether five years old or fifty— directly to it. The Bullock Museum purports to tell “the story of Texas” from its first American Indian settlers until the present day.  The museum teems with objects, but a huge projection timeline linked to a series of touch screens allows users to access major events in Texas history in ever-greater detail and project them onto the rear wall for all to see.

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