2015-2016 Colloquium Series

The Tourism Studies Working Group is pleased to announce
Questions from Southwest China and Beyond

Margaret Byrne Swain
(Professor Emerita, Women and Gender Studies,
University of California, Davis)

Friday, March 18, 5:00 PM
Gifford Room, 221 Kroeber Hall
University of California, Berkeley
Through more that forty years of trans-disciplinary Tourism Studies, altruism and pragmatism continue to shape our research questions, ethics and praxis. My goal is to address the interdisciplinarity of tourism social science scholarship, our altruistic and pragmatic motivations in studying tourism, and ask so what, what is it good for, why bother? Not that I aim to answer those questions, but rather ask them to promote thinking in these terms as individuals engaged in tourism research. I draw from research experience in Southwest China and a focus on cosmopolitanism as a paradigm for critical tourism studies, useful for understanding tensions among issues of diversity, globalization, neoliberal development, human rights, empowerment, social and environmental justice. Cosmopolitan theory lies at the ethical intersection of cultural diversity and universal rights, a highly contested location within and beyond Chinese and Western interpretations. Amongst a plethora of cosmopolitanisms used to theorize global mobilities and imaginings, an embodied approach to tourism practice, including indigeneity and gender equality engage my "so what." All of us in Tourism Studies combine trans-disciplinary knowledge, altruism and pragmatism in varying proportions in our research, raising questions. What is it good for, and why bother?

Speaker Bio:
Margaret Byrne Swain (PhD University of Washington, 1978) is a cultural anthropologist, retired from Women and Gender Studies, University of California, Davis. She continues to be active in both Southwest China ethnography and transdisciplinary Tourism Studies fields, with particular interest in feminist and cosmopolitan theories. She has been a visiting professor at Wagenigen University in the Netherlands, served as President of the Tourism Research Committee of the International Sociological Association (2010-14), and continues as a Distinguished Honorary Board member of the Anthropology of Tourism Interest Group, American Anthropological Association. She conceived of and edited the Special Issue of Annals of Tourism Research on "Gender in Tourism" (1995). Research articles include chapters in Cultural Encounters on China's Ethnic Frontiers (U. of Washington Press 1995), Perspectives on the Yi of Southwest China (U. of California Press, 2001), Cultural Heritage Politics in China (Springer, 2013), Tourism Research Paradigms (Emerald,2016); and "The Cosmopolitan Hope of Tourism" (Tourism Geographies, 2009). She is the co-editor of Gender, Tourism, Fun(?) (Cognizant Press, 2002), Explorers & Scientists in China's Borderlands (U. of Washington Press, 2011), and co-author of the Historical Dictionary of Peoples of the Southeast Asian Massif (Scarecrow, 2016).

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