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Distributed for Seagull Books

Death Tourism

Disaster Sites as Recreational Landscape

Auschwitz. Hiroshima. Cambodia’s killing fields. The World Trade Center. The mass graves of Rwanda. These places of violent death have become part of the recreational landscape of tourism, an industry that is otherwise dedicated to pleasure and escape. In dark places like concentration camps, prisons, battlegrounds, and the sites of natural disasters, how are memory and trauma mediated by thanotourism, or tourism of death?
In Death Tourism, Brigitte Sion brings together essays by some of the most trenchant voices in the field to look at the tensions created by the juxtaposition of human remains and food stands, political agendas and educational programs, economic development and architectural ambition. How does a state redefine its national identity after catastrophic trauma? And what is the role of this kind of tourism in defining their new identity? A timely volume on an irresistible subject, this inquiry exposes the intersection of leisure with the inhumane, giving insight into how people respectfully share a public space that is both free and sacred, compelling and tragic.

356 pages | 35 halftones | 6 x 9 | © 2014


Culture Studies

Travel and Tourism: Tourism and History

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“The examination of tourism at the fifteen locations covered in the book frequently makes for uncomfortable reading. But the deeply thoughtful ways some of the most disturbing material is examined confirm Sion’s conclusion that ‘These sensitive topics clearly override quick judgement about death tourism, which is often denounced as kitsch, cheap thrills and macabre business’: death tourism is both complex and deserving of serious scholarship.”

Times Literary Supplement

"This book is a significant contribution to death (and trauma) studies, but it also joins broader
work that explores the relationship between human life and place."


Table of Contents


Introduction – Brigitte Sion

Part 1: Tourism and/as Memory

Ethical Spaces: Ethics and Propriety in Trauma Tourism – Laurie Beth Clark

Trauma as Durational Performance: A Walk through Villa Grimaldi, Santiago de Chile – Diana Taylor

The Manhattan Project Time Machine: Atomic Tourism in Oak Ridge, Tennessee – Lindsey A. Freeman

Theme Parks and Station Plaques: Memory, Forgetting and Tourism in Post-Aum Japan – Mark Pendleton

Part 2: Exhibiting Death

Conflicting Sites of Memory in Post-Genocide Cambodia – Brigitte Sion

Resisting Holocaust Tourism: The New Gedenkstätte at Bergen-Belsen, Germany – Rainer Schulze

From Evidence to Relic to Artefact: Curating in the Aftermath of 11 September 2001 – Mark Schaming

Part 3: Negotiating Return

Noshing at the Necropolis: Trauma, Gastrotourism and Jewish Cultural Memory – S. I. Salamensky

Sites of Absence and Presence: Tourism and the Morbid Material Culture of Death in Brittany – Maura Coughlin

The Navy Mechanics School (ESMA) and the Politics of Trauma Tourism in Argentina – Cara L. Levey

From Shrine to Theme Park: The House of Terror in Budapest, Hungary – Aniko Szucs

Part 4: Identity Politics

Borderline Memory Disorder: Trieste and the Staging of Italian National Identity – Susanne C. Knittel

Return to Alcatraz: Dark Tourism and the Representation of Prison History – Mary Rachel Gould

Between Violence and Romance: Gorillas, Genocide and Rwandan Tourism – Stephanie McKinney

Welcome to Sarajevo! Touring The Powder Keg – Patrick Naef



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