Paulla A Ebron* - Stanford Univ.
Claudia Engel* - Stanford University
In the South Carolina Lowcountry, descendents from enslaved West Africans, have kept alive basket making as an art form unique to the region. The baskets are marketed at private stalls, which dot an ever expanding traffic corridor that cuts through communities of African Americans who have lived in this area since the 19th century. It shifts the space and access to this traditional artisan commercial zone. Two processes write a history of a highway that link coastal regions in South Carolina with the site of a heritage corridor. The continued expansion of the highway encroaches on the artisans' space. Yet the expansion also assures that more tourists and potential buyers will be brought to the area.
By combining GPS data, video footage, Google Earth imagery and Google streetview, as well as historical accounts, we attempt to reconstruct the historical and spatial dynamics of the basket makers' stands and tell the story of development and expansion of the highway by using an expanded spatial and temporal framework. The spatial history is used to expand, corroborate, and challenge the ways people tell stories about development. We explore the processes of exchange between developers and crafts people - a negotiated process which reveals the dynamics of a back and forth of a set of practices that show the production of both heritage and contemporary development plans.