2020-2021 Colloquium Series
The Tourism Studies Working Group is pleased to present
Caribbean Cultural Encounters
in Early-to-Mid-Twentieth Century Cruise Ship Tourism
Cunard Line's Queen Elizabeth, 1950s.
Courtesy of the University of Liverpool,
Cunard Archive. © 2017 Cunard.
Shayan Lallani, PhD Candidate
History, University of Ottawa
Friday, October 9, 4PM-6PM
Zoom Link [click here to enter the webinar]
Cruises were a means for wealthy Americans to encounter Caribbean societies in mediated ways. The ship, though traversing foreign waters, remained a luxurious and thus familiar atmosphere, complete with many home comforts and rendered an elite experience through the French-influenced fare on offer. Yet, cruise ship tourists also explored Caribbean ports of call wherein contact with sociocultural Others was much more conspicuous. This paper uses cruise menus to explore how the ship was rendered a luxurious space, as well as cruise travel guides and accounts to study how cruise passengers were asked to view foreign societies before their voyages, and how they encountered those cultures once they debarked the ship. It explores how cruise tourists toured foreign lands in ways that were ultimately sanitized. The familiarization of Caribbean cultures was accomplished by augmenting references to exoticism with references to American or European cultures, and especially through colonial symbolism. Thus, an otherwise foreign experience was rendered safe and palatable for American cruise tourists.
Shayan Lallani is a PhD candidate in History at the University of Ottawa. His research explores how mass-market cruise lines in the American market produced cultural encounters through dining experiences in the late twentieth century. His articles have appeared in Food, Culture & Society, and the Journal of Tourism History.