This issue brings together cases across a range of regions and contexts within the African diaspora, especially in the Americas, to think through what tourism that purports to incorporate Black bodies, stories, communities, and histories looks like and does across the diaspora.

BLACKNESS AND TOURISM  (Vol. 19 #1/ Jan-Mar 2016)
Guest Editor:
Karla Slocum, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

This issue brings together cases across a range of regions and contexts within the African diaspora, especially in the Americas, to think through what tourism that purports to incorporate Black bodies, stories, communities, and histories looks like and does across the diaspora. We purposefully excluded work on tours to Africa as this is an area more heavily studied. Thus, our focus is the Americas—specifically Panama, Brazil, Jamaica, and the United States—where the histories of colonialism and plantation enslavement, coupled with postcolonial/post–civil rights arrangements, have given rise to complex tourism industries as well as grassroots projects. These tourism venues have rendered the histories, cultures, and communities of people of African descent either the object of the tourist gaze, the subject of tourist consumption, or the project for an alternative politics of tourism and community. In the Caribbean, mass tourism in which people of African descent are hosts or service workers was buoyed by air transportation and efforts for economic development as well as the region’s relationship with the United States.  In the United States, tourism featuring Black people—especially heritage tourism—is more of a late 20th-century phenomenon. Reaching across this geographic terrain, the articles here help us think through the global currency and formation of Blackness within tourism as it manifests in the various sites. As such, this special issue on Blackness and Tourism makes an intervention and, we hope, begins to expand the parameters of tourism studies of people of African descent.

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