American Studies | American Studies in Transnational Contexts / Topic: Global Tourism: Sun, Sex, and Sand in the Americas
A351 | 26157 | Steve Selka

(3 cr. hrs.)

T/R 1:00-2:15 p.m.
Class carries COLL A&H distribution credit
Instructor email:

Tourism is the largest industry in the world today.  For many who
study it, what is intriguing about tourism is that it is defined
more by the production and consumption of experiences than of
commodities.  Drawing on case studies from the Americas, this course
focuses on transnational tourism, a major aspect of globalization
that involves the consumption of cross-cultural experience.  We will
employ an ethnographic perspective that emphasizes the connections
between the everyday practice of tourism and wider global
processes.  Our readings and discussions will center on the complex
relationships among different kinds of tourists, tourism
organizations, cultural representations, and host communities.
Questions that we will explore include: How does tourism affect
local communities, such as through economic, political and
environmental impacts?  What kinds of desires and fantasies, and
promises of gratification, are referenced or implied in the various
representations to which tourists respond?  How does
commercialization complicate our ideas about cultural authenticity?
What kinds of power relations are entailed among the various actors
and agents involved in the practice of tourism?  We will begin the
course with an overview of some basic concepts in the
anthropological study of tourism and proceed to discuss several case
studies.  Students will become familiar with ethnographic research
methods and with critical approaches to cultural analysis from
anthropology and related disciplines.