The 10th Biennial Conference of the (SEA) will be held March 2-4, 2017 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Cathy Rex, Associate Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and Shevaun Watson, Associate Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, are organizing a panel themed ‘Heritage Tourism and Race in the Early Americas.’
Description: This panel seeks to explore the ways in which early American landmarks, events, sites,
and even gift shops are marketed as authentic “heritage” tourist experiences but often ignore the complex racial dynamics that undergird them and recolonize historic peoples of color. Sites like Colonial Williamsburg and Jamestown, cities like Savannah and Charleston, and countless plantations, historic homes, monuments, museums, and forts throughout the Americas and Caribbean often portray a sanitized version of history in order to appeal to a broad tourist base. As Athinidoros Chronis argues, these heritage destinations function as complex tourism imaginaries wherein place, narrative, and ideology are carefully crafted and coordinated to invite visitors to participate in fantasies about the racialized past rather than confront the hard truths and uncomfortable legacies of imperialism. At best, such experiences and sites leave tourists with a false sense of historic “authenticity” and intellectual edification. At worst, they reinforce ideas of
Anglo/Western supremacy and erase or sterilize the racist frameworks of imperial history within the Americas. Proposals are welcomed from diverse scholars of the early America/s to interrogate the economic, rhetorical, pedagogical, and/or socio-cultural implications of race-based heritage tourism on modern visiting publics.
For more information about SEA 2017, visit https://sea2017.wordpress.com.