Tourism Init.

AADS Tourism Studies Initiatives

Since 2008, FIU’s African & African Diaspora Studies Program engaged in a number of initiatives focused on tourism, which fall within the scope of the multidisciplinary field of inquiry called tourism studies.

First, taking advantage of the numerous contacts we have in Senegal and The Gambia, we began developing a study abroad program which we entitled Senegal & The Gambia: Traditions, Globalization, and Tourism in West Africa. The focus of that study abroad program on tourism reflects the still growing importance of the tourism industry in the economy of both countries. We also wanted to have the enrolled students reflect critically on their experiences as “academic tourists.” We were able to convince undergraduate and graduate students to enroll, and we ran this program for the first time in 2010. It became an annual program since then.

Upon our return from this first study abroad program, we organized in August 2010 a session at FIU during which the graduate students presented the research they conducted during their stay in both countries. The session was entitled “The Revelation, Re-Affirmation, and Re-Invention of Self Through the ‘Discovery,’ Consumption, and Experiencing of Others: Globalization and Interactions in Senegambian Tourism Formations”. This session at FIU was a rehearsal of sort, as most of the students went with the study abroad program instructors to Lisbon to participate in a session with the same title in the conference “Tourism and Seductions of Difference: A Critical Tourism Studies Conference,” which took place at the Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Lisbon, Portugal on September 9-12, 2010, and which was organized by the Centre for Tourism and Cultural Change (CTCC), the Centro em Rede de Investigação em Antropologia or CRIA; and the Tourism-Contact-Culture Research Network.

On Wednesday February 15, 2012, we hosted Dr. David Picard, from the Center for Research in Anthropology (CRIA) of the Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Lisbon, Portugal, who gave the lecture “Human Gardens and Their Magic: Tourism, Conservation and the Naturalizing of European Visions of Humanity in the Indian Ocean Island of La Reunion.”

On April 4-6, 2013, we held at FIU the international conference entitled “Tourism and Pro-Poor Sustainable Development in Sub-Saharan Africa and the Caribbean.” The conference opened with the 6th Chris Gray Memorial Lecture by Dr. Harold Goodwin, from the Leeds Metropolitan University, in the U.K.: “What Can Tourism Contribute to Tourism Reduction in Africa?”

We hope to develop a course or two on tourism in Africa and the African diaspora in the near future.