Colonial Tourism: sites, resistances and performances

Denis Linehan's picture
Call for Papers
December 1, 2017
Subject Fields: 
African History / Studies, Architecture and Architectural History, Geography, Latin American and Caribbean History / Studies, Southeast Asian History / Studies


CFP: Colonial Tourism: sites, resistances and performances 

17th International Conference of Historical Geographers  15- 20 July 2018 at the University of Warsaw

The session seeks critical readings of tourist infrastructures of the colonial state which occupied a distinctive position in the development of settler society. Hotels, inns, safari camps, tours, holiday camps, and resorts, together with colonial administrations, shipping, rail and eventual airline companies played critical roles in developing this network. These tourist sites and experiences often constituted a centrepiece of colonial representations and practices, as well as sites to showcase and subjugate indigenous peoples. They also played a key role in colonial violence. To a large extent, colonial tourism realised a form of occupation which Mbembe (2013: 25) argues was ‘…[about] writing on the ground a new set of social and spatial relations’, involving the ‘manufacturing of a large reservoir of cultural imaginaries’. Notwithstanding some evidence that through the work they offered, these sites supported the livelihoods of the indigenous population, as a central hub of the colonial occupation they were frequently seen as exploitative, a locus of white power, sexual violence and inequity. Yet in the west, these sites often featured as a centrepiece of luxury, the exotic and indeed many continue to trade on colonial nostalgia. As noted by Hom (2012: 30) ‘…colonial tourism disavowed the violent, insidious nature of imperialism, covering it over with a patina of leisure and making palatable, even pleasurable, the destruction of indigenous social fabrics and the unchecked demolition of economic, political, and social systems’. Addressed critically, places, sites and buildings for tourists and travellers, became features of the built and social landscapes and can be understood as a space which participated heavily in the capitalist production of colonial spaces. We welcome contributions from researchers who work intersects with these ideas or in areas related to possible broad themes or related topics:

• The Colonial Holiday

• The cultural and political topologies of colonial tourism

• Labouring at colonial tourist sites

• Honeymoons in the Colonies

• Resistance to the Colonial Tourist Gaze

• Colonial Hotels and Colonial Wars

• Colonial Tourist Sites as contact zones

• Colonial Holidays, memory and nostalgia. 

Contact Info: 

Dr Denis Linehan & Dr Joao Sarmento

School of Geography

University College Cork

Western Road



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