Heritage Tourism and Race in the early Americas

deadline for submissions: 
August 21, 2016
full name / name of organization: 
Cathy Rex for Society of Early Americanists (Tulsa, March 2017)
contact email: 

Dear colleagues,

Below is a call for proposals for a traditional panel at the SEA in Tulsa March 4-7, 2017.
Please feel free to be in touch with questions. 


Heritage Tourism and Race in the Early Americas

Cathy Rex, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire


This panel seeks to explore the ways in which early American landmarks, events, sites,

and even gift shops, are marketed as authentic “heritage” tourist experiences but often

ignore the complex racial dynamics that undergird them and recolonize historic peoples

of color. Sites like Colonial Williamsburg and Jamestown, cities like Savannah and

Charleston, and countless plantations, historic homes, monuments, museums, and forts

throughout the Americas and Caribbean often portray a sanitized version of history in

order to appeal to a broad tourist base. As Athinidoros Chronis argues, these heritage

destinations function as complex tourism imaginaries wherein place, narrative, and

ideology are carefully crafted and coordinated to invite visitors to participate in fantasies

about the racialized past rather than confront the hard truths and uncomfortable legacies

of imperialism. At best, such experiences and sites leave tourists with a false sense of

historic “authenticity” and intellectual edification. At worst, they reinforce ideas of

Anglo/Western supremacy and erase or sterilize the racist frameworks of imperial history

within the Americas. We invite proposals from diverse scholars of the early America/s to

interrogate the economic, rhetorical, pedagogical, and/or socio-cultural implications of

race-based heritage tourism on modern visiting publics. Send abstracts of 500 words and

a short cv to Cathy Rex (rexcj@uwec.edu) and Shevaun Watson (watsonse@uwm.edu)

by August 21, 2016.


You can visit the conference website here:https://sea2017.wordpress.com/