Communication and Culture | Current Topics in Comm. and Culture
C334 | 1160 | Phaedra Pezzullo
"It is tempting to look upon Yosemite as the final battleground of
'nature' versus 'society': two of the worthiest adversaries head-to-
head; the most beautiful natural place on earth against an entire
postmodern city owned by a major corporation, attempting to take the
place over from within. But this is a pseudo-battle. Its outcome is
It is not nature vs. society, but 'framed' nature vs. corporate
Society already won. The 'battle' is only another entertainment.
Unless, of course, we decide to change society."
(Dean MacCannell, 1992, 116-117)
Tourism is a significant global industry both commercially and
noncommercially. For people who care about the environment, this fact
provokes both hope and concern. On the one hand, the popularity of
tourism promises great potential as a means to increase attention
towards the value of specific places, ecosystems, and cultures. On
the other hand, tourism's popularity does not necessarily correlate to
environmental preservation or sustainable local cultures, especially
when "tourism" accounts for such a wide range of practices. Given
this tension, it is perhaps unsurprising that critical responses to "
environmental tourism," like MacCannell's (above), seem only to agree
on two things: (1) any opinion about the relationship between tourism
and the environment tends to provoke controversy; and (2) the stakes
of these controversies are high.
In order to explore the rhetoric of tourism as a performative mode of
communication in relation to environmental concerns, this introductory
course is organized around three themes: commercial "ecotourism";
commercial environmental tourism museums and parks; and noncommercial
industrial tourism (e.g., toxic tours and waste management facility
tours). We will engage interdisciplinary literature on these themes,
primary tourist materials and sites, and each other to explore the
limitations and possibilities of "environmental tourism" as mode of
communicating about culture and social change.
Active and Informed Seminar Participation: 10%
Reading Quizzes: 10%
3 Critical Research Papers: 20% (4-5 pages); 20% (4-5 pages); 40% (9-
Final Individual Presentations (5 minutes): expected
Located on IU ereserves and available to purchase as a coursepack.