Anthropology of Tourism

Discipline: Anthropology
Instructor: Cohen
Credits: 3

Field Work: Day 1 - Tuesday, 12 January | Hawaii, United States Download Syllabus

Tourism is one of the fastest growing industries world-wide and many countries that we visit during our voyage rely upon tourism not just economically, but also as a means to build and promote a national culture or to revive indigenous traditions. A complex cultural, economic, and political phenomenon with profound impacts locally and globally, tourism is a vibrant and expanding focus of anthropological study. In this course we examine some of the key research and debates in the study of tourism, addressing questions such as: What is a tourist and what do tourists want? What is the role of cultural stereotypes in shaping tourist expectations? How are tourist spaces made and what kinds of interactions take place in them? What is the impact of tourism upon local culture, and who benefits? How are monuments, museums, memorials, and cultural displays used by local populations as well as by tourists?  What are the prospects for “responsible” and environmentally and culturally sustainable tourism? Course readings and films relate directly to the places and people we will be visiting, and the class enables students to understand their own behaviors as tourists and to engage in original research on tourism and tourists, tourist places and tourist-local interactions.

Field Work

Country: Hawaii, United States
Day: 1 - Tuesday, 12 January

From Aloha to Mahalo: Waikiki Beyond the Postcard: Guided by representatives of the Native Hawaiian Hospitality Association, we look at a Waikiki that lies beyond tropical beach resorts, hula performances, and luaus. We begin with a walk along the Waikiki Historical Trail, to get a sense of a Hawaii before tourism. We follow this with visits to historical sites that are important reminders of a flourishing Hawaiian culture and society. We will have an opportunity to learn Hawaiian language, music, and cultural practices, even as our bus tour takes us through the tourist scape of conventional Hawaiian tourism.

Academic Objectives:
1. To observe the tourist spaces of Waikiki and develop skills at reading tourist sites
2. To gain an understanding of the various stakes and players in Waikiki tourism
3. To obtain an “insider” perspective on the local importance of culture and tradition