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Dean MacCannell, professor of applied behavioral science and sociology at UC-Davis, and author of The Tourist: A New Theory of the Leisure Class (Schocken, 1976) and Empty Meeting Grounds: The Tourist Papers (Routledge, 1992).

The Written Suburb: An American Site, An Ethnographic Dilemma by John Dorst (Pennsylvania, 1989). "This ethnographic study of Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania--the home of the Wyeth family dynasty--documents something that often happens to so-called primitives who get visited by tourists: They have to dance a version of themselves for others in order to survive. In Chadds Ford, we have a similar phenomenon, but in a postmodern community, where the people have to live their lives in a Wyeth painting in order to attract tourists--it's a matter of public policy. In the book, Dorst, an American studies scholar, also calls into question the idea of the death of the paternal subject within postmodernity, because Chadds Ford exhibits all the characteristics of postmodernity while simultaneously encrypting a cult of personality."

Bennetta Jules-Rosette, professor of sociology at UC-San Diego and author of The Messages of Tourist Art: An African Semiotic System in Comparative Perspective (Plenum, 1984).

African Art in Transit (Cambridge, 1994) by Christopher B. Steiner. "Steiner looks at the international trade in West African tourist art, from its origins in street trade (he includes considerable detail about the construction of fakes and processes of artificial aging) all the way to London or New York. He traces how these pieces enter both the tourist and the gallery market. Steiner (who works at the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles) creates a new image of the tourist: a specialist in search of specific cultural experiences. It's a departure from earlier works [on tourism], which treated the tourist as someone who was uninformed and out for a random experience."

Andrew Ross, chairman of the American studies department at NYU and author of The Chicago Gangster Theory of Life (Verso, 1995).

Back to the Front: Tourisms of War, edited by Elizabeth Diller and Ricardo Scofidio (Princeton Architectural Press, 1994). "This is a bilingual publication in French and English, a series of essays organized around an installation called 'suitCase Studies: the Production of a National Past' put together by Diller and Scofidio. The installation traveled around the United States and to Caen, France, in fifty Samsonite suitcases; each suitcase contained a case study of one state's tourist attractions--either the bed of a famous person or a battlefield (both being sites of conflict). The installation focused on what people carry with them as survival kits; it made a link between what soldiers carry into battle and how tourism--whether or not it's military--helps turn a landscape into something historical. It's a D-Day book as much as anything, and contains an essay by Georges Van den Abbeele about the evolution of Normandy from an invasion site to a tourist site."

James Clifford, director of the Center for Cultural Studies at UC Santa Cruz, and author of The Predicament of Culture: 20th Century Ethnography, Literature and Art (Harvard, 1988).

Imperial Eyes: Travel Writing and Transculturation (Routledge, 1992) by Mary Louise Pratt. "Pratt, a professor of Spanish and Portuguese at Stanford, questions the distinctions among exploration, what we might call sophisticated literary travel, and tourism. She sees them all as operating within complex situations of cultural contact, dominance, and unequal mutual appreciation--what she calls 'contact zones,' the routes along which all sorts of travelers move. One of the originalities of the book is that it sees the interactions of travel as a two-way street, so Europeans traveling into a contact zone are themselves influenced by what they encounter. That idea complicates the older 'colonial discourse' approach, which sees the cultural productions of travel in terms of Europeans' misrepresenting the world." Clifford also cites the journal Public Culture (University of Chicago Press): "The study of tourism often suffers from a difficulty in taking itself seriously enough. Tourism is the world's largest industry, but is often not recognized and studied as something actively transforming the world, as having a long history of its own just as, say, the petroleum industry does. In Public Culture, tourism gets the recognition it's due as one of the principal networks for the flow of cultural commodities and messages in the late twentieth century."

--Ariel Kaminer

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