Anthropology of Tourism Conference Begins Friday: ‘Reflections and New Directions’

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: 03-01-2011

Kathleen McPartland
Public Affairs
530-898-4260
Adrienne Scott
Museum of Anthropology
530-898-5397

The anthropology of tourism is the academic study of the relationships between tourists and the people and places they visit. Professor Emerita Valene L. Smith, cultural anthropologist and geographer, was an early advocate for the study of tourism. The current exhibit at the Valene L. Smith Museum of Anthropology, California State University, Chico and the March 4 and 5 “Reflections and New Directions: A Conference on the Anthropology of Tourism” are in honor of Smith.

The conference begins Friday afternoon, March 4, at 3:30 and continues all day Saturday, March 5. You can register for the conference online at http://www.csuchico.edu/anthmuseum/register.shtml.

Scholars from around the nation will be attending the conference. There will be representatives from Stanford  University; UC San Diego; Drexel; University of Hartford; CSU, Humboldt; University of New Orleans; Indiana University; University of Wisconsin–Madison; UC Berkeley; and the University of San Francisco.

In 1964, Smith proposed the topic of tourism for her doctoral dissertation and was denied, because there was no body of literature in the field. In 1974, Smith and a group of like-minded anthropologists met at the annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association in Mexico City. This meeting was followed by edited papers that were published in Smith’s seminal book, “Hosts and Guest: The Anthropology of Tourism” (1977), an anthology of writings from many scholars on their experiences with the economic and social impacts of tourists on cultures around the globe. Smith and her colleagues paved the way for the scholarly acceptance of tourism in anthropology.

The current exhibit at the museum, “Sacred Places, Dreams of Leisure: The Anthropology of Tourism,” is companion to the conference. The exhibit invites visitors to explore topics such as the influence of media on destination choices, meet famous explorers, follow the religious pilgrim’s journey and embark on an all-American road trip. In addition, visitors can learn about “authentic” travel experiences and controversial sites and see the Seven Wonders of the World. The museum is open from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday.

For more information on the conference or the exhibit, visit the Museum of Anthropology website at http://www.csuchico.edu/anthmuseum/.

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