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Image: Postcard of nitrate works in Tarapacá, Chile (1909), Biblioteca Nacional Digital de Chile

Centre for Latin American and Caribbean Studies


Abstracts:13 February 2022
Conference:29-30 June 2022

Keynote speakers:
Professor Claire Lindsay (UCL) and Professor James R. Akerman (Newberry Library)

Since the late nineteenth century, travel in pursuit of pleasure has grown to become one of the world’s largest industries. International tourist arrivals are currently predicted to reach 1.8 billion in 2030, despite the ongoing disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic (UN World Tourism Organization). As rail networks, steamer services, and private motorcars became commonplace into the twentieth century, tourists were able to access a variety of unfamiliar locations, including beaches, foreign cities, and mountain resorts. In the Americas in particular, numerous early tourist offerings foregrounded the ‘cathedral of nature’ in lieu of a classical archaeological past. With many of these grand landscapes located in Indigenous territories, far from metropolitan centres and their wealthy inhabitants, tourism often provided states with a means for annexing border regions or cementing their presence in frontier spaces. It also offered an opportunity for cultivating notions of national identity via what Marguerite S. Shaffer has termed ‘virtuous consumption’ (2001), whereby domestic tourism is portrayed in the cultural sphere as a civic duty. Alongside the success of national parks and mountain retreats, locations including slaughterhouses, oil derricks and gold mines became important destinations where visitors could witness technological and industrial prowess, features that were commonly highlighted in marketing materials to divert the tourist gaze away from the damage and pollution that they cause. 

Today, many of the world’s most popular tourist destinations are located in the Americas, from Machu Picchu, to Cancún, to Niagara Falls. ‘Climate, Capital and Tourism in the Americas’ seeks to examine how landscapes or specific sites in the Americas have been commodified in both domestic and foreign contexts, illuminating the manipulation and/or exaggeration of climate, flora, and fauna data in marketing campaigns, literature, and visual media, and connecting these discourses with the climate crisis and Indigenous dispossession. This interdisciplinary conference will provide a forum for academics studying any region of the Americas with a focus on tourism, while also inviting contributions from the heritage sector. Our particular aim is to bridge the gaps between humanities and social sciences scholarship in this field. This event will also facilitate essential dialogue at a time when many institutions are seeking to reassess heritage tourism in light of growing calls for environmental justice and land reparations.

We invite proposals for ten-minute papers in English or Spanish on any of the following issues in the Americas:

-Tourism and pollution
-Indigenous tourism
-Historical tourism
-Tourism marketing and publicity
-The legal dimensions of/ challenges to tourism
-Tourism and Indigenous dispossession
-Travel and tourism in the climate emergency
-Tourism and climate futures
-Tourism and capitalism
-Tourism and energy humanities/ extractivism
-Any other issue that brings together climate, capital and tourism

Please send a 150-word proposal, title, and a short bio to Dr Elizabeth Chant,, by
13 February 2022. The conference language will be English; simultaneous translation will be available for anyone wishing to present in Spanish. Applicants will be informed if their proposal has been accepted by mid-March 2022. All sessions will be held in the afternoon to facilitate participation from the Americas. 

Supported by the Society for Latin American Studies (SLAS)

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