Karl Schmid
Department of
Profile Teaching AN3120 AN3220 AN4110



AN3120 The Anthropology of Tourism 6.0

Time: Mon. 2:30-5:30 ACE 005

Disneyland and Las Vegas, Yosemite National Park and East African safari parks, the Royal Ontario Museum and Maya ruins in Belize. Why are such varied places major sites in the western tourist imagination? What exactly are modern tourists looking for as they travel "into the heart of Africa" or up the Sepik River of New Guinea, and what effect does the presence of these guests have on the host societies? What is the allure of "sun, sex, sea, and sand" and who are the people who consume these sights? How is international tourism changing in the early twenty-first century and what are the implications of these changes for local cultures throughout the world? These are just some of the questions and issues that we will be addressing in this course. In the first section of the course we will be considering approaches taken by social scientists to the study of 'The Tourist' in an attempt to understand some of the reasons behind the desire to travel and/or sight-see. First we will be considering the cultural construction of meaning through modern tourist practice - focusing on theories of authenticity and the "tourist gaze." Then we will be looking at recent theories of the 'postmodern' tourist that examine commodification and desire as central to late 20th c and early 21th c tourist practice. In the next section of the course we will shift to a consideration of the tourist site, looking at what happens when we travel. Here we will consider the global inequalities that underlie tourism, the impact of tourism on expressive culture, sex tourism, the issue of alternative tourism, and the problem of 'nature' in tourist practice. We will also be considering recent interest in the role of tourism in the construction of politically and economically salient forms of local identity.

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