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Tourism, Coloniality, and the Environment

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Organizer: Hannah Cole

Co-Organizer: Pierre-Elliot Caswell

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“For tourists, the sunshine cannot be serious,” claimed Derek Walcott in his 1992 Nobel Prize speech. In contrasting tourists’ reductive expectations of the sites they visit with locals’ awareness of their complex histories, Walcott invites us to reflect on the multiple perspectives and affects that touristic sites provoke. 

In this panel, we invite submissions that consider the intersections of tourism, coloniality, and the environment. We are interested in how “landscapes of leisure” conform to and resist touristic stereotypes, how they become interpellated as real or authentic, and how residents, human and nonhuman alike, respond to tourism’s presence in the places they live. 

We particularly welcome submissions that emphasize the agency of people and nonhumans living in touristic circuits and that unsettle the binaries between tourist/local, authentic/inauthentic, here/elsewhere, and traveler/tourist. 

Presenters might consider the following questions:

How might tourism both connect us to disappeared or disappearing histories/landscapes while also removing us from them? 
How does tourism simulate or reconfigure the environment, and how might art, cinema, and literature bring attention to that change?
Who writes travel/tourist literature and for whom?
How is tourist infrastructure layered over colonial, postcolonial, and neocolonial history, and how does this relation echo in its representation?

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