Backtrack blogging…

by kkmeow

I didn’t have reliable access to a computer in the Yucatan, so I’m going to be posting travelogs from my journal. I was traveling the Yucatan peninsula for 16 days for a Communication Studies class at Millsaps College. The class was called “Sun, Sand, and the Cult of the Dead”. We studied theories and writings on different types of tourism, and applied those ideas to tours. We looked at Mayan culture & religion, archaeology, and media to see how they effect each other. It was wonderful!  So, here are some entries from before the trip…

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On the Tourist Gaze…
“We never look just at one thing; we are constantly looking at the relation of things and ourselves.”
The tourist gaze is dependent on contrast–what & how the tourist looks at and percieves at home determines what and how they will experience a “foreign” place. Places are chosen to be gazed upon because there is anticipation, daydream, fantasy, and novelty that is constructed and sustained by the media. I like how one of our readings hailed tourists as the “unsung armies of semioticians”. In tourism studies, there is an ongoing debate on reality & authenticity… le duh. Some accuse tourists as seeking ‘pseudo-events’, events that are orchestrated for foreigners to consume and feel as if they are experiencing the true culture of a place, even though these are just fabricated reproductions of the ‘true culture’. There is a pervacent assumption in this sort of critique–that culture is fixed, and that travelers do not have any part in creating cultures outside of their physical origin.

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