2014-2015 Colloquium Series

The Tourism Studies Working Group is pleased to announce
Tourism, Inequality, Democracy

Dean MacCannell
(Professor Emeritus, Environmental Design and Landscape Architecture
University of California, Davis)

Friday, April 3, 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Gifford Room, 221 Kroeber Hal
University of California, Berkeley
Using a revisionist reading of Rousseau’s concept of the general will, this lecture examines the radical basis for the designation of an object as worthy of preservation and display as exemplary of “human heritage.” It proposes that the worldwide deployment of heritage objects as tourist attractions is producing a new global commons. As capitalism and democracy expand their spheres of influence they are increasingly opposed to each other. While heritage things are the basis of the global tourist economy, they exist outside the market place, insulated from economic exchanges. While it is yet to be theorized as such, tourism is emerging as a third force between capitalism and democracy. Why? “The Heritage Thing” proposes an explanation.

Speaker Bio:
Dean MacCannell is Professor Emeritus of Environmental Design and Landscape Architecture at UC Davis. He also chaired the Graduate Group in Geography at Davis. He is an active member of the Tourism Studies Working Group and author of The Tourist: A New Theory of the Leisure Class (1976, 2013), Empty Meeting Grounds: The Tourist Papers (1992), and The Ethics of Sightseeing (2011), and The Time of the Sign: A Semiotic Interpretation of Modern Culture (1982) with Juliet Flower MacCannell. In addition to his work on tourism, MacCannell studies rural poverty and homelessness. He designed and supervised multiple censuses of the homeless populations in Yolo and Placer Counties, and he wrote the first Poverty Report for the State of California. He has given expert testimony on rural poverty and inequality to the Congress of the United States, and the United States Secretary of Agriculture. MacCannell received his A.B. degree in Anthropology from Berkeley and his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Rural Sociology from Cornell.

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