Thursday, April 19, 2012

New Fall 2012 Course on Latin America: Tourism, Heritage, Adventure, Travel

Tourism, Heritage, Adventure, Travel: The Case of Latin America

Monday, 5:45-8:00 PM, Ballantine 134
Professor: Dr. Quetzil CastaƱeda

Tourism, Heritage, Adventure, Travel: The Case of Latin America

Does "the past" exist? Where? Why do we want to visit the past in places as divergent as shopping malls, Disneyland, Maya pyramids, Amazonia, Costa Rican Jungles and Jamaican beaches, museums? Can we actually see, feel, touch, live the past? This course explores the varieties of travel that range across the spectrum of exploration, adventure, tourism, shopping, science, travel writing, ecotourism, study abroad, TV documentary entertainment, pilgrimage, and sex tourism. In particular we explore the forms of travel and tourism that articulate to the invention of "the past" and the politics of heritage.

Who invents "the past"? And how? How is culture and identity created in and through heritage which in turn becomes some type of thing - tangible and material or intangible and symbolic - that is produced, displayed, sold, consumed, identified with, fought over, and regulated? What are the objects we see and consume and what are stories we tell about travel and tourism?

In this class we explore the formation of cultures, communities, identities, national sentiments of belonging in the context of tourism development in Latin America. Since the 1980s culture wars, heritage has increasingly become a crucial concept and practice in the world, in part by displacing "culture" as the primary axis for identity politics, tourism development and the imagining of national cultures. Why? And why has Latin America been slow to join this process that was in Europe and more specifically England? In this course we learn how "the past" is created as the heritage of nations in the project of forging national culture, community, identity, and sentiments of belonging.