Folklore | Heritage Tourism in East Asia
F600 | 29465 | M. Foster

Fulfills Area or Theory

This seminar has two objectives: 1) to introduce students to
critical theoretical discourses of tourism, with a focus on notions
of heritage, authenticity, and nostalgia; and 2) to explore these
issues within the specific context of tourism in East Asia (Japan,
Korea, China).

The first part of the course will focus on tourism from cultural and
symbolic perspectives, paying particular attention to the tourist
gaze and the relationship of the visitor to the people/culture being
visited. We will interrogate what it means to invoke words such
as “heritage,” “authentic,” and “traditional.” How and why do
cultures present an “authentic” self to a visiting other? What
is “intangible cultural heritage” and how has it been codified by
cultural policy makers such as UNESCO? What is nostalgia? How is it
commodified and in turn, how does it drive cultural production?
Against this theoretical backdrop, in the second part of the course
we will examine a range of case studies from East Asia, considering
the particular ways in which tourism is enacted within this broad
geographic region. Throughout the course we will keep in mind the
interplay of global and local interests as well as the parallels
between the tourist experience and the work of the ethnographer.

No background in tourism studies or Asian languages/history is
required for this course.