Proceedings of the annual meeting of the Southern Anthropological Society


This study examines the discursive profiles of two websites — the Sons of Confederate Veterans and the Fraternity of American Descendants — in order to understand the transnational dimensions of neo-Confederate digital spaces. The Fraternity of American Descendants is a nonprofit organization that since 1954 has been based in the town of Santa Bárbara d’Oeste in the Brazilian state of São Paulo. The organization works to maintain the historic patrimony of immigration associated with Confederados, American Southerners who fled the United States after the defeat of the Confederacy in the American Civil War. In the United States, the Sons of Confederate Veterans is a fraternal organization with the purpose of commemorating the cause of the Confederate States through various forms of memorialization and educational outreach. These two websites have striking similarities in their semiotic representations of heritage. I argue that the two websites work to produce a lexicon of neo-Confederate heritage based on: 1) family, ancestry, and descent that define the boundaries of a claimed heritage; 2) heroic figures that become icons of heritage defense; and 3) narratives of historical truth that lionize and elevate master symbols. This paper challenges scholars to move beyond the United States and consider the transnational digital worlds in which neo-Confederate heritage is produced in the twenty-first century.

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