[URBANTH-L]CFP: Archaeology of Tourism session, SHA 07, Williamsburg, VA

Matthew Palus mpalus at starpower.net
Wed Apr 26 23:57:28 EDT 2006

To  list members (please excuse cross-postings)

CALL FOR PAPERS: We are organizing a session on the Archaeology of 
Tourism for the 2007 Society for Historical Archaeology conference 
planned for Williamsburg, VA in January 2007.  We invite your 

The session abstract is pasted below.  Conference information is 
available at: http://www.sha.org/
The submission deadline for the conference is June 1, 2006, we kindly 
ask that you provide us with abstracts for our review by May 15, 2006.

Please respond to: anthczm at hofstra.edu

Thank you.
Chris Matthews and Matt Palus

The Archaeology of Tourism
Session proposal for SHA '07, Williamsburg
Christopher N. Matthews (Hofstra U) and Matthew Palus (Columbia U),

Archaeological sites and representations are a growing component of the 
global tourism industry.  The material presence of sites and museums on 
the landscape combined with their allusion to distant places and 
cultures produces an aura of authenticity attractive to modern 
tourists. Tourism is so important within archaeology that the 
accommodation of tourist access while maintaining a dedication to 
preservation and research interests of archaeologists and their 
collaborators is an increasingly common practical and ethical concern.  
This growing trend also reflects the now widely accepted sense that the 
past is a public (writ popular) resource, an idea that also supports 
that presentation of the past for popular consumption.  While 
conservation (saving the past for the future) is a valuable ethic, it 
may benefit from an examination of its own history and materiality.

The proposed session considers the archaeology of tourism with the 
intent of offering a critical perspective on the situation of the 
tourist industry within capitalism.  Its aim is to examine with 
archaeology how a diversity of sites have been conceived and 
constructed as touristic so that we may better understand now what 
tourists expect from their experience.  This involves both 
archaeological examinations of sites created in the past as well as 
archaeological and ethnographic studies of the way sites and museum 
representations are constructed and experienced today.  Certainly, the 
entanglement of past and present touristic sites and experiences is 
also a ripe location for potentially powerful research.

Our premise is that in archaeological tourism it is tourists and the 
tourism industry that hold the upper hand.  Yet, we maintain, an 
examination of the materiality of tourism creates opportunities of 
presenting for touristic consumption material histories of tourist 
sites that may grant visitors the space for a now-absent critical 
reflection on their experience as tourists in the modern world.

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