Call for papers: The Tacky South
American Studies Association Annual Meeting
November 8-11, 2018
As a way to comment on a person’s style, the word “tacky” has distinctly southern origins. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, it first emerged around 1800 as a noun to describe “a poor white of the Southern States from Virginia to Georgia.” Although the OED does not draw connections between this origin and the origins of the adjective describing something “dowdy, shabby; in poor taste, cheap, vulgar,” these definitions suggest a clear link between national stereotypes of region, race, and class and urbane (and northern urban?) notions of taste, class, and sensibility.