Somatic Podcast - Episode 12 - County Fairs: A Fantasy of (Sporting) Whiteness

Samuel Clevenger's picture

In our latest episode of Somatic Podcast, we interview Dr. Benjamin Tausig from Stony Brook University about his research on the racial and sound politics of county fairs, and the relation between fairs, race, Whiteness, and sport/leisure.  Today, counties across the United States organize fairs throughout the summer months.  The fairs have come to signify family-friendly community and agricultural entertainment, and sport and leisure are often key components of fair entertainment.

County fairs in the U.S., however, are also entertainment spaces rife with political meaning and shaped by the racial divisions of the nation.  As Tausig writes, county fairs constitute a “fantasy of whiteness”: not only are they spaces typically predominated by white Americans, they are spaces of “political imagination” with “severe racial overtones” powered through symbols (like the Confederate Flag) and a surrounding silence (no one seemingly talking about the racial aspects of the symbols).

This episode, posted in the midst of 2019's county fair season, takes a critical look at county fairs through the lens of race, Whiteness, sound, and sport.  Click here to listen to the episode via SoundCloud.  You can also access Somatic Podcast on Apple Podcasts and Stitcher, or through our website at Somatic  You can also read more about the episode, as well as find links to resources related to the topic, on our Somatic Podcast website.