2014-2015 Colloquium Series

The Tourism Studies Working Group is pleased to announce
Tourism and the Impossible State of Destination Italy

Stephanie Malia Hom
(2014-15 Fellow, Stanford Humanities Center;
Presidential Professor, Italian, University of Oklahoma)

Friday, March 13, 5:00 PM - 7:00 PM
Gifford Room, 221 Kroeber Hall
University of California, Berkeley
Every year, Italy swells with millions of tourists who infuse the economy with billions of dollars and almost outnumber Italians themselves. In fact, Italy has been a model tourist destination for longer than it has been a modern nation-state. Dr. Stephanie Malia Hom will present her new book, The Beautiful Country: Tourism and theImpossible State of Destination Italy (U of Toronto Press, 2015), which explores the enduring popularity of “destination Italy” and its role in the development of the global mass tourism industry. She tracks the evolution of this particular touristic imaginary through texts, practices, and spaces, beginning with the guidebooks that frame Italy as an idealized land of leisure and finishing with destination Italy’s replicationaround the world. Today, more tourists encounter Italy through places like Las Vegas’s Venetian Hotel and Casino or Dubai’s Mercato shopping mall than experience the country in Italy itself. In her talk, she will focus on the ways in which destination Italy returns from Las Vegas and Dubai to the territory of the Italian nation-state, and explores its instantiation among the souvenirs, theme parks, and outlets malls that mark an Italian state altogether absorbed within a semiotics of tourism.

Speaker Bio:
Stephanie Malia Hom is the Presidential Professor of Italian at the University of Oklahoma and currently the 2014-2015 Marta Sutton Weeks Fellow at the Stanford Humanities Center. In addition to The Beautiful Country, she is the co-editor with Ruth Ben-Ghiat of Italian Mobilities (Routledge, 2015) and a number of articles published in journals such as the Annals of Tourism Research, Journal of Tourism History, Annali d’Italianistica, Italian Culture, Traditional Dwellings and Settlements Review, Western Folklore, among others. Her research specializations include modern Italian studies, Italian colonialism, tourism and travel theory, and anthropology and folklore. She is currently writing her second book, The Empire Between: Mobility, Colonialism, and Space in Italy and Libya. She holds an MA and PhD in Italian Studies from the University of California, Berkeley and a BA with Honors in International Relations from Brown University.

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