Beyond Disciplinary Communities TFDC 1.18
Jul 06, 2023 11:00 - 12:30(Europe/London)
20230706T1100 20230706T1230 Europe/London 6.4. Memory and Tourism I: Mediated Memory-Making in Tourism

As noted in the only session about tourism at the last MSA Annual Conference, 'tourism – one of the central ways of how mobility is organised and experienced in late modernity – remains underresearched in the field of memory studies.' Following the 'transcultural' (Bond and Rapson, 2014) and 'transnational' (Erll and Rigney, 2018) turns, attention has been paid to travelling memory; scholars have privileged mnemonic movements such as those enabled by communication technologies, migration processes, international politics and social movements. The two panels 'Memory and Tourism I and II' respond to the dearth of research on memory-making in tourism by centring tourism as a popular means through which memory travels across time and space. They seek to advance the discussion on tourism and memory-making in several ways. Firstly, the panels intend to form an interdisciplinary dialogue between different approaches to studying memory and tourism and draw attention to the diversity of agents and sites of memory-making in tourism. The panels contribute to the MSA thematic stream on Beyond Disciplinary Communities by bringing together a range of theoretical and empirical reflections from different disciplines (cultural studies, film studies, literary studies, geography, and anthropology) and subjects (return tourism, nostalgic tourism, 'red tourism', heritage tourism, cultural tourism and political tourism). On the individual level, they explore how tourists make sense of the past by remembering and imagining their trips in relation to sociocultural contexts. On the collective level, they look at the production of cultural memories in tourist sites and guided tours as they try to stabilise or destabilise these memories. Furthermore, the panels also explore the con ...

TFDC 1.18 MSA Conference Newcastle 2023 conference@memorystudiesassociation.org
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As noted in the only session about tourism at the last MSA Annual Conference, 'tourism – one of the central ways of how mobility is organised and experienced in late modernity – remains underresearched in the field of memory studies.' Following the 'transcultural' (Bond and Rapson, 2014) and 'transnational' (Erll and Rigney, 2018) turns, attention has been paid to travelling memory; scholars have privileged mnemonic movements such as those enabled by communication technologies, migration processes, international politics and social movements. The two panels 'Memory and Tourism I and II' respond to the dearth of research on memory-making in tourism by centring tourism as a popular means through which memory travels across time and space. They seek to advance the discussion on tourism and memory-making in several ways. Firstly, the panels intend to form an interdisciplinary dialogue between different approaches to studying memory and tourism and draw attention to the diversity of agents and sites of memory-making in tourism. The panels contribute to the MSA thematic stream on Beyond Disciplinary Communities by bringing together a range of theoretical and empirical reflections from different disciplines (cultural studies, film studies, literary studies, geography, and anthropology) and subjects (return tourism, nostalgic tourism, 'red tourism', heritage tourism, cultural tourism and political tourism). On the individual level, they explore how tourists make sense of the past by remembering and imagining their trips in relation to sociocultural contexts. On the collective level, they look at the production of cultural memories in tourist sites and guided tours as they try to stabilise or destabilise these memories. Furthermore, the panels also explore the consequences of memory-making in tourism. We will discuss tourism's potential as a tool for intervention across a range of contexts and social phenomena including, but not limited to, identity formation, conflict recovery, and social justice. 'Memory and Tourism I: Mediated Memory-Making in Tourism' is organised with four empirical papers that also address theoretical issues. It gathers case studies of China and beyond with a shared academic focus on the mediation of memories through various forms (photography, documentary, image and museum). The first paper investigates how female tourists create their spatial scripts of heritage tourism by theatrically performing their intersectional identities in photography of traditional Chinese clothing 'Hanfu'. The second paper analyses the documentary Found (2021) to examine how Chinese female adoptees' homeland tours reconfigure the memoryscape of rural Guangdong. Tracing the trajectory of the image of Kowloon Walled City from Hong Kong to Japan, the third paper shows how nostalgia travels across boundaries and acts as a tool for social reflection in a different cultural context. The fourth paper explores the production processes and memory discourses of 'red tourism' in China by tracing the establishment and legitimation of the National Third Front Museum from the perspectives of mnemonic capital and public memory.



Chu XU

Hanfu tourism performance and photography: Gender, memory and place-making

Tim Edensor's (2001) 'tourism performance' highlights the agency and innovation of tourists in writing their own performance scripts instead of merely obeying normative modes. Drawing upon this theory, I further examine how tourists can take the initiative in tourism performance to achieve self-exploration. Specifically, this paper investigates how female tourists theatrically perform their identities in photography through a case study of Hanfu performance in Chengdu, China. 'Hanfu' generally refers to a traditional style of clothing worn by the Han Chinese ethnic group, and wearing Hanfu while visiting heritage spaces to take photography is an emerging urban tourism experience in China. This paper employs visual analysis of photography and in-depth interviews with female visitors in Chengdu to examine the intentions, practices, and social impacts of Hanfu tourism. By focusing on female tourists, I particularly consider diverse performances of the intersectional gender, national and cultural identities. Ultimately, it explores the possibilities opened up in tourism for identity hunting by analysing the performativity of photography.

Empirical materials delineate a series of ritualised embodied practices of Hanfu tourism, including make-up, dressing, movement, and instant photography. In this transformational process, female tourists feel a sense of empowerment and detachment from mundane life and homogenised urban experience by integrating poetic aesthetics into performance. Spatial elements of heritage sites, such as rivers, trees, and ancient buildings, have been selectively involved in line with their scripts in scene-space-making photography. These imageries are visualised and symbolised formats of the romanticisation of idyllic ancient China. Photography is a 'ceremonial form' used by tourists to cement their relationship with places. Considered as mediated memories shared and circulated in society, photography is productive in enhancing the image of heritage sites as 'cultural enclaves' opposing urban civilisation. To conclude, this paper claims that female tourists reflexively create Hanfu scripts which facilitate their unique gender, national and cultural identities and constitute the imagined self within heritage spaces. It extends the discussion on tourism performance by demonstrating tourists' agency and innovation in identity construction and place-making.


 Yawen Li

The other space as palimpsest: Negotiating memory and belonging at an unhomely home(land)

The other space as palimpsest: Negotiating memory and belonging at an unhomely home(land) (Yawen Li) Transnational adoptees often find themselves stuck in triangular relations with the 'homeland' where they are 'native strangers', and the 'host country' where they are ethnically minoritised and subject to racialisation and racism. Homeland tourism is therefore likely infused with a relatively higher level of expectation on belonging and local engagement – some gestures of welcoming so that one may feel at home, even though it has never really been home. Laurie Clark suggests that 'return' journeys often highlight mismatched memorial agendas between the returnees and local residents, noting how 'sites fail to conform to recollections, and encounters with contemporary residents fail to satisfy desires' (2011, 72). The fact that it is the locale and the locals that 'fail' (to be homely), rather than the visitors, indicates that the discursive field of trauma tourism is skewed towards the perspectives of the diasporic 'homecomers', who are usually unfortunately displaced yet paradoxically more capable in economic and representational terms upon 'returning'.

This paper asks what it means for transnational adoptees whose legitimacy of personhood was once relinquished by their 'home' and 'homeland' – in the context of China's One-Child Policy (1979-2015) – to 'come home'? Amanda Lipitz's documentary film Found (2021) follows three Chinese female adoptees' 'return' from America and reunion with various former caretakers and possible parents in rural Guangdong. The film demonstrates the extraordinary quality of 'contingency', particularly the 'fortuitous and accidental' aspects of material existence (Robinson 2013, 32). The rigorously observational mode of the direct cinema registers alternative possibilities of belonging as they unfold between the female adoptees and a local female genealogist Liu, who share roots – susceptibilities to gendered subjection – but vary in routes (e.g., localities, cultural and national citizenship, formative experiences). This paper argues that Liu's ethical commitment to addressing the heterogeneity of victim experience, rather than purposefully reinforcing the more 'recognised' positionality of the adoptees, facilitates the collaborative reconfiguration of the memoryscape of rural Guangdong. Liu connects transnationalism and rural indigeneity, thus the homeland tour generates the potential to see the Other space beyond a site of generalised criminality and to reterritorialise belonging within the 'unhomely' homes.


 Karma Hoi Pan KONG

Travelling nostalgia: Reinventing Kowloon Walled City in Japan

Tracing the trajectory of the image of Kowloon Walled City (KWC) from Hong Kong to Japan, this paper shows how nostalgia travels across boundaries and may act as a tool for social reflection in different cultural contexts. Recent memory studies scholarship has understood memory as a concept travelling and transforming under cross-generational, multimedial, and globalised conditions. Relatedly, studies of nostalgia and heritage have also reconsidered the nature of nostalgia; it can denote the idealisation of the past, serve as a projection for a better future, and offer a critical reflection of the present. With the case of KWC, this paper suggests that nostalgia can also travel in different contexts and reconfigure the conception of history and social reality.

KWC, a slum city in Hong Kong demolished in 1994, has been culturally translated into images of cyberpunk-dystopia, ruin, and a traditional Asian community within the Japanese context since the late 1980s. Reflecting the rise of capitalism and modernity in postwar Japan, such images may be read as representations of progressive nostalgia. Through interviews with content producers and analysis of visual materials, such as photo books, this paper illustrates the process of cultural translation – how did Japanese visitors come to see a foreign slum as a tool for the reflection and criticism of contemporary Japan? The second section is a site observation of Warehouse Kawasaki, a game centre in Japan that embodies the Japanese imagination of KWC from the past two decades. This paper will explain how the game centre showcases the cultural logic of KWC through its spatial setting and materiality.

Travelling nostalgia provides a strategy to distance one from the local and render a quasi-foreign space for reinterpreting the self and reality. In this instance, KWC becomes a distanced and extraterritorial playground, escaping conventional approaches to nostalgia while taking audiences to a relatively safe position for social reflection ultimately removed from actual history and reality.


Mingkun Li

Mnemonic capital and public memory: The Panzhihua Third Front Museum in red tourism 

This paper explores the production processes and memory discourses of red tourism sites in China through the perspectives of mnemonic capital and public memory. The focus of this paper is the Panzhihua National Third Front Museum. The Third Front Campaign refers to the massive military-industrial facility construction and mass migration campaign launched by the People's Republic of China from 1964 onwards in preparation for a potential World War III. After Mao's death, the programme was suspended and the 15 million third front workers were forgotten by the public. The city of Panzhihua was founded because of the Third Front campaign. In 2015 the Panzhihua Third Front Museum was established and has since become a landmark in the city's tourism programme.

Red tourism refers to tourism projects that build on the heritage of communism and promote the revolutionary history of communism. To date scholars have concentrated on more famous sites from the central government's list, interpreting them as top-down political propaganda sites. However, this ignores more marginal red tourism sites and their complex memory production and memory discourse. Through fieldwork and archival research, this paper analyses the process of the museum's establishment and legitimisation, as well as its exhibitions, spaces, guided commentaries and tour routes.

This paper adopts the concepts of mnemonic capital (Reading 2019) and argues that the local government actively acquires the embodied, objective, and institutional mnemonic capital of the Third Front groups, the academic community and the central government through mnemonic labour, transforming the museum from a local tourist site into a national historical landmark. Using the concept of public memory (Bodnar 1994), the paper also finds that the museum, in acquiring mnemonic capital to meet the needs of different groups, adopts layers of memory discourse and tourism discourse. In this way, memory-making is a palimpsest in which the museum ostensibly uses Cold War discourse to transform the Cultural Revolution Periods into a glorious history, while concealing radical revolutionary and critical discourse.


PhD Candidate
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Utrecht University, Human Geography and Spatial Planning
National University of Singapore & King's College London
PhD candidate
,
Australian National University
PhD candidiate
,
king's college, London
PhD candidate
,
King's College London
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