2011-2012 Colloquium Series

Nelson Graburn (Professor Emeritus, Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley), will present "Contemporary Research on Tourism: Anthropology, Interdisciplinarity or Just Cultural Studies?."

Friday, September 16, 4:00 PM
Gifford Room, 221 Kroeber Hall
University of California, Berkeley

At Berkeley I have taught an evolving graduate seminar 'Tourism, Art and Modernity' since the 1980s, and find that without a conscious aim, we read and discuss works and theories without stopping to think whether they are anthropological, sociological, psychological, or merely cultural studies. The seminar is always attended by graduate students and visiting scholars from a number of disciplines, particularly architecture, comparative literature, sociology, geography and ethnic studies. Colleagues in other disciplines have noted the same tendencies, and we have to ask: Is this the expression of 'post-modernity,' the effacing of boundaries in the social sciences and humanities? Does it stem from the global tendency of anthropology and other disciplines to now focus on the same topics in the cosmopolitan world rather than on the marginal? Or is it because the subjects of our studies, often in motion and themselves aware of the social sciences, force on us all new methodologies, sometimes described as 'quick and dirty' and by others 'cultural studies'? And we have to ask, is there anything special to the anthropological approach now that our main ethnographic tools have been 'borrowed' (usurped?) by many other disciplines?

[See Leite, N and N Graburn (2009) "Anthropological Interventions in Tourism Studies." Pp. 35-64 in Mike Robinson and Tazim Jamal (eds.), Handbook of Tourism Studies. London: Sage]

Speaker Bio:
Nelson Graburn (Co-chair 2011-2012) was educated in Natural Sciences and Anthropology at Cambridge, McGill, and University of Chicago. He is emeritus professor of socio-cultural anthropology at UC Berkeley, Curator of North American Ethnology at the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology, and Thomas G. Barnes Endowed Professor, Canadian Studies Program. He also just retired from an appointment as Senior Professor at the International Institute for Culture, Tourism and Development at London Metropolitan University. Professor Gragurn served as co-chair of the Tourism Studies Working Group in 2010-2011, and was a driving force in the organization of our 2011 conference, Tourism Imaginaries.

Prof. Graburn has taught at Berkeley since 1964, with visiting appointments at the National Museum of Civilization, Ottawa; Le Centre Des Hautes Etudes Touristiques, Aix-en-Provence; the National Museum of Ethnology (Minpaku) in Osaka; and the Research Center in Korean Studies, National University of Kyushu, in Fukuoka, Japan; the Universidade Nacional, Rio Grande del Sol, Porto Alegre, Brazil, and Beijing International University. He is a founding member of the International Academy for the Study of Tourism, the Research Committee on Tourism (RC-50) of the International Sociological Association, and the Tourism Studies Working Group, and serves on the editorial board (for anthropology) of Annals of Tourism Research.

Prof. Graburn's recent research has focused on the study of art, tourism, museums, and the expression and representation of identity. He has carried out ethnographic research with the Inuit (and Naskapi) of Canada (and Alaska and Greenland) since 1959. He is now working with the Inuit cultural organizations in Nouveau Quebec and Nunavut, Canada, on aspects of cultural preservation and autonomy, and on contemporary Inuit arts, including film and video-making. He has done research on tourism and social change in Japan since 1974, and with students and colleagues in China since 1991.

In addition to articles and book chapters on ethnic and tourist arts, museums, modernity, identity, and theory and methods in the study of tourism, Prof. Graburn's publications include Ethnic and Tourist Arts (ed., 1976), To Pay, Pray, and Play: The Cultural Structure of Japanese Tourism (1983), and Relocating the Tourist (2001). Recent edited volumes include, Multiculturalism in the New Japan, published in 2008 and, with Alexis Bunten,Current Themes in Indigenous Tourism. Special Issue of London Journal of Tourism, Sport and Creative Industries, 2 (1) (2009).

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