Critical Daytrips: Tourism and Land-Based Practice

In recent years a number of artists have produced works that are tours or ask the viewer to become a tourist. Much of this work presents itself as ‘critical,’ despite decades of scholarship examining tourism as a means of shoring up social class membership, naturalizing ideas of national patrimony, reinforcing the centrality of the Western gaze, and reproducing images of the exotic Other. This paper explores how touristic forms might be deployed in an oppositional, self-reflexive way that is responsive to how the experience of tourism is mediated by politics, economics, and cultural frameworks. For all the ways that conventional touristic learning might be superficial, marketized, and insulated by privilege, tourism is one cultural site where people expect to learn and seek out new knowledge about place. As such, tourism—both as an art and leisure pursuit—has rich potential as a form of performative, place-based pedagogy.

Kanouse, Sarah, “Can Tourism be Critical?” Final manuscript sent to Emily Scott and Kirsten Swenson, editors of Critical Landscapes, under contract with University of California Press.

Manuscript will be available for download after publisher’s blackout period.

Cover image: Ryan Griffis, Lize Mogel, and Sarah Ross, “Siting Expositions,” 2010