2015-2016 Colloquium Series
The Tourism Studies Working Group is pleased to announce
THE MAKING OF AN IMPERIAL CITY, CIRCA 2016
Professor of Marketing
California State University, Stanislaus
Friday, April 8, 5:00 PM
Gifford Room, 221 Kroeber Hall
University of California, Berkeley
Located on the Neva River at the head of the Gulf of Finland, St. Petersburg - the second largest city in the Russian Federation - is a fixed geographic and political entity. Its social and cultural identity, however, is hard to specify in unequivocal terms. Nowhere is this better reflected than its multiple - official or informal - names: Petrograd, Lenigrad, Window to the West, Petropolis, The City of Three Revolutions, Hero City, Venice of the North, Northern Palmyra. For many people, St. Petersburg is a literary metropolis of Alexander Pushkin, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Nikolai Gogol, Alexander Blok, and Anna Akhmatova. For others, it is the artistic city of Tchaikovsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, Shostakovich, and the Mariinsky Theater. And we cannot overemphasize the plethora of architectural styles dotting a cityscape that has been designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. St. Petersburg, therefore, is a "multiple-choice" city that exemplifies the uneasy relationship among places, their rich histories, and their variegated identities. Its multivocality is demonstrated by the tension among its imperial beginnings, its soviet era, its heroic standing against occupation, its literary and artistic achievements, and its architectural heritage. In what way this city steeped in history, art, politics, and social movements presents itself to the global community? In this presentation, I am looking at the ways in which professional tour guides construct and promote a city-image through guided tours to international tourists. In the first part of my talk, I will lay out the types, participants, structure, and functioning of guided tours. In the second part, I will focus on one particular type of tours that are offered to passengers of cruise ships. Notwithstanding the rich tapestry of historical, artistic, literary, and political legacies, it is the theming of an Imperial era that runs through these uniformly structured and highly scripted tours. How is this tourism imaginary being constructed? I will pay particular attention to the specific strategies and tactics employed by professional guides as they lead tourists through the city, point to attractions, narrate histories, and (re)make - in a couple of days! - a stupendous Imperial city that ceased to exist a century ago.
Athinodoros Chronis is Professor of Marketing at California State University, Stanislaus. His research embraces the experiential aspects of tourism production and consumption at the junction of history, geography, and material culture. He has theorized the co-construction of tourism experience, authenticity, embodied memory, narrative imagination, tourism imaginaries, tourism ideology, and the kinesthetic aspects of strategic guiding. His work has appeared in the Annals of Tourism Research, Tourist Studies, Journal of Travel & Tourism Marketing, Consumption, Markets & Culture, Journal of Consumer Behavior, Journal of Consumer Marketing, Journal of Marketing Management, and Encyclopedia of Tourism.