Heritage Tourism and Race in the early Americas
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
by August 21, 2016.
You can visit the conference website here:https://sea2017.wordpress.com/