Forthcoming: The Sounds of Vacation: Political Economies of Caribbean Tourism


This edited volume The Sounds of Vacation: Political Economies of Caribbean Tourism, by Jocelyne Guilbault and Tim Rommen, interrogates the ways in which Caribbean societies (historically English, Spanish, French, and Dutch) have been touched by tourism—in benign and harmful ways. This collection of essays will be published by Duke University Press in September 2019.

Colleen Ballerino Cohen (author of Take Me to My Paradise: Tourism and Nationalism in the British Virgin Islands) says, “Illuminating the ways that the sonic environment of inclusive resorts inform tourists’ experiences of pleasure, postcolonial spaces, and colonial histories, Sounds of Vacation represents an exciting new approach to studying tourism, the politics of sound and listening, and the sonic and musical construction of space and fantasy.”

Timothy D. Taylor (author of Music in the World: Selected Essays) writes: “Sounds of Vacation takes Caribbean music studies, and music and tourism studies more broadly, to the next level. Jocelyne Guilbault and Timothy Rommen’s learned and comprehensive introduction paves the way for fresh and compelling case studies by leading scholars from a variety of fields who show us how vacations work in a world increasingly disfigured by neoliberal capitalism.”

Description: The contributors to Sounds of Vacation examine the commodification of music and sound at popular vacation destinations throughout the Caribbean in order to tease out the relationships between political economy, hospitality, and the legacies of slavery and colonialism. Drawing on case studies from Barbados, the Bahamas, Guadeloupe, Saint Martin, and Saint Lucia, the contributors point to the myriad ways live performances, programmed music, and the sonic environment heighten tourists’ pleasurable vacation experience. They explore, among other topics, issues of authenticity in Bahamian music; efforts to give tourists in Barbados peace and quiet at a former site of colonial violence; and how resort soundscapes extend beyond music to encompass the speech accents of local residents. Through interviews with resort managers, musicians, and hospitality workers, the contributors also outline the social, political, and economic pressures and interests that affect musical labor and the social encounters of musical production. In so doing, they prompt a rethinking of how to account for music and sound’s resonances in postcolonial spaces.

Contributors: Jerome Camal, Steven Feld, Francio Guadeloupe, Jocelyne Guilbault, Jordi Halfman, Susan Harewood, Percy C. Hintzen, Timothy Rommen

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