2011-2012 Colloquium Series

Rachel F. Giraudo (Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology, CSU Northridge), will present "San Cultural Tourism and the Indigenous Issue in Botswana"

Friday, March 23, 4:00 PM
Room 101, 2251 College Avenue
Archeological Research Facility
University of California, Berkeley

Although the San (Bushmen) are considered by international human rights groups, development organizations, and academics to be the exemplary indigenous peoples of southern Africa, the government of Botswana upholds that all its citizens are indigenous. Botswana’s historic non-racialism policy is unique in a region plagued by long-term and ongoing racial and ethnic strife, but it has, along with other government policies, helped to conceal the cultural hegemony of an elite ethnic Tswana majority. Minority ethnic groups in the country, especially the San, remain at the bottom of Botswana’s ethno-class hierarchies.

San cultural tourism, including community-based projects and private sector ventures, potentially provides the San with the economic and political means to help secure recognition of their rights by the state as their culture and indigeneity are commodified for regional and international tourists who consider the San to be the first peoples of southern Africa. This talk addresses the growing importance of the tourism industry in Botswana and its influence on the country’s cultural and ethnic politics, specifically with regards to the indigenous issue.

Speaker Bio:
Rachel F. Giraudo is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the California State University, Northridge, where she teaches courses on cultural heritage, museums, and globalization. She received her Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of California, Berkeley in 2011. Dr. Giraudo is currently revising her dissertation for publication.

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