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Writing the Dark Side of Travel

Writing the Dark Side of Travel

Copyright Date: 2012
Edition: 1
Published by: Berghahn Books
Pages: 228
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  • Book Info
    Writing the Dark Side of Travel
    Book Description:

    The travel experience filled with personal trauma; the pilgrimage through a war-torn place; the journey with those suffering: these represent the darker sides of travel. What is their allure and how are they represented? This volume takes an ethnographic and interdisciplinary approach to explore the writings and texts of dark journeys and travels. In traveling over the dead, amongst the dying, and alongside the suffering, the authors give us a tour of humanity's violence and misery. And yet, from this dark side, there comes great beauty and poignancy in the characterization of plight; creativity in the comic, graphic, and graffiti sketches and comments on life; and the sense of profound and spiritual journeys being undertaken, recorded, and memorialized.

    eISBN: 978-0-85745-876-6
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. ix-ix)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. x-x)
  5. Introduction: Writings on the Dark Side of Travel
    (pp. 1-28)

    Thursday, 11 August 2005. Killing time, I visit the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles. This is coming to the end of a tour of the Arthur Murray dance studios up and down the West Coast. It is a hot break after a month’s dance fieldwork in Sacramento. Rather than fly back to Belfast from San Francisco, I opted for LAX and bookended my research with a personal journey driving up and down the state. I had gone up through Death Valley where I had solo hiked into the desert and made a souvenir vial of Death Valley sand. Then...

  6. CHAPTER 1 Between Trauma and Healing: Tourism and Neoliberal Peace Building in Divided Societies
    (pp. 29-46)

    There is an apocryphal story that during a visit by Catherine the Great to view her newly acquired lands in the Crimea, she was delighted to see beautiful villages nestled along the banks of the river Dnieper. Little did she know, the vision was a hollow façade built by her minister Potemkin to obscure the desolate tundra. Trite as the comparison seems, it is tempting to suggest that tourists visiting the modern-day Belfast city center are endowed with a variation of the “Potemkin Village” (see Nagle 2009b).

    Certainly tourists see little signs of the violent legacy of the civil conflict...

  7. CHAPTER 2 Sebald’s Ghosts: Traveling among the Dead in The Rings of Saturn
    (pp. 47-62)

    In a recent tribute to W. G. Sebald, the artist Jeremy Millar traveled to the exact spot by the side of the A146 in Framingham Pigot where the celebrated German émigré author died in a car crash on 14 December 2001, not far from his adopted home of some twenty years near Norwich, England. After setting off a firework at the side of this minor road, Millar then took a series of photographs of the smoky apparitions that were left behind, “in memory—and celebration” of Sebald’s life and work (Millar 2007: 592). Commenting on the piece, the writer Robert...

  8. CHAPTER 3 Graphic Wounds: The Comics Journalism of Joe Sacco
    (pp. 63-82)

    Over the past twenty years a new hybrid has emerged within bookshops: the travel comic or graphic travelogue, combining two forms that have often individually provoked suspicion and denigration. Comics artists have journeyed across the globe reporting on their travels in increasing numbers. Josh Neufeld has taken readers with him and his wife into the caves of Thailand, to a funeral in Bali, and onto the set of a Singaporean soap opera inA Few Perfect Hours(2004). K. Thor Jensen, in the wake of losing his job and girlfriend, and the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, leaves...

  9. CHAPTER 4 Visiting Rwanda: Accounts of Genocide in Travel Writing
    (pp. 83-98)

    Issues of dark tourism are generally focused on established memorial sites, be these war cemeteries, Auschwitz, the Cambodian Killing Fields, Graceland, or the location of the sinking of the Titanic. John Lennon and Malcolm Foley emphasize that it is the events of recent history that carry the greatest poignancy and meaning for visitors, introducing “anxiety and doubt about … modernity and its consequences” (2000: 12). This chapter discusses memorials and encounters that elicit the same reactions. It excludes the analysis of issues of commercial tourism in Rwanda; the tourist industry in Rwanda has only recently begun to develop as Rwandans...

  10. CHAPTER 5 Walking Back to Happiness? Modern Pilgrimage and the Expression of Suffering on Spain’s Camino de Santiago
    (pp. 99-121)

    Rebecca Solnit’s walk through the history and philosophy of pedestrianism sketches a pastoral idyll of slow bipedal progression that stands opposed to the encroachment of modernity. For her, walking involves a space and a practice that can remain transcendent in its mundaneness, generating “the time inbetween” (Solnit 2002: xiii) for a productive wastefulness conducive to self-becoming. It is this experience of movement, walking as empowerment, that resonates with contemporary pilgrims to the Camino de Santiago. The Camino, a medieval pilgrimage route across Europe to Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, northern Spain, where the bones of Saint James are reputedly interred,...

  11. CHAPTER 6 Shades of Darkness: Silence, Risk, and Fear among Tourists and Nepalis during Nepal’s Civil War
    (pp. 122-142)

    I went to Nepal to document civilian life in Kathmandu during the conflict between the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) and the Nepalese state (1996–2006). I also conducted research on tourism, for two reasons. First, it was a good cover to help protect the people with whom I was talking. Second, it was striking that tourism was carrying on at all and that many tourists thought it was a great time to travel in Nepal precisely because tourist numbers were down. So there was tourism, in which tourists by their own accounts had good journeys; and there was darkness,...

  12. CHAPTER 7 Beyond Frames: The Creation of a Dance Company in Healthcare through the Journey of Brain Trauma
    (pp. 143-162)

    Many creative notions are accidentally tripped over by the artist. I had my own tripping experience: a weekly repetitive neck and hand motion that took place as I stood outside the locked glass door of a Brain Trauma Rehabilitation Unit: freezing cold, ringing the doorbell, lurching my neck forward and from side to side to peer deep through the familiar landscape on the other side of the glass panes with the intention of being noticed. On a weekly basis I repeated these zoo-like actions, begging entrance and permission to begin my weekly on-ward dance class. The patients wanted out, and...

  13. CHAPTER 8 The House on the Hill: An Analysis of Australia’s Stolen Generations’ Journey into Healing through the Site of Trauma
    (pp. 163-181)

    The train rumbles through the sunburnt landscape as Mary and I sit together, for the most part in silent rumination. This journey, from one of Australia’s major urban centers to a small country town in rural New South Wales, was one where Mary would begin the process of confronting the material traces and ruins of her childhood suffering. It was a journey she and her close friends, all members of Australia’s Stolen Generations, considered critical to their personal journey of healing and notions of forgiveness and conciliation. Having spent a number of months conducting research with the women in the...

  14. CHAPTER 9 Exploring Landscapes after Battle: Tourists at Home on the Old Front Lines
    (pp. 182-202)

    The Western Front was a strip of land a few miles wide that ran from the Channel to the Swiss frontier. The battles fought over this area of ground during the First World War (1914–1918) were so intense that whole villages were reduced to “handfuls of smoke-grimed dust” (Oxenham 1918: 34), woods were blasted into blackened stumps and in places entire sections of topsoil disappeared, exposing the white limestone substratum underneath. Once labeled by Wilfred Owen as the “topography of Golgotha,” today much of the Front’s terrain has been reclaimed and restored. Yet it is a landscape that as...

  15. Notes on Contributors
    (pp. 203-205)
  16. Index
    (pp. 206-209)