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Tourism and The Holocaust
Daniel Reynolds, Grinnell College
Grant details: https://securegrants.neh.gov/publicquery/main.aspx?f=1&gn=FT-60751-13
Consumer or Witnesses? Holocaust Tourists and the Problem of Authenticity. (Article)
Title: Consumer or Witnesses? Holocaust Tourists and the Problem of Authenticity.
Author: Daniel Reynolds
Abstract: Each year, millions of people from around the world visit former extermination camps, ghetto memorials, and other museums and monuments dedicated to the remembrance of the Holocaust. Constituting a vast population of so-called “dark tourists,” these travelers are frequently characterized by researchers as consumers of macabre spectacles, susceptible to sensationalized and inauthentic representations of historical events. But does Holocaust tourism automatically position its participants as naïve consumers of a commodified version of history? Based on field research conducted at numerous sites of Holocaust remembrance, this article considers how Holocaust tourists exercise agency, especially through the practice of photography. Through such agency, tourists to Holocaust memorial sites become active producers of historical knowledge as they generate their own representations of historical trauma. Ultimately, Holocaust tourists reflect on the authentic and inauthentic dimensions of their experiences, hold tourist sites accountable for the representations on display, and become stewards of collective memory.
Primary URL: http://joc.sagepub.com/
Primary URL Description: Web Portal for Journal of Consumer Culture
Periodical Title: Journal of Consumer Culture
Publisher: Journal of Consumer Culture 16 (July 2016) 334-353.