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OSEA Emerging Scholars Research Seminar, 2012

Ethnography of Tourism Regions:
Comparative Studies of Yucatán and Oaxaca Tourism Development

Quetzil Castañeda, Ronda Brulotte and Bill Wood, Co-Organizers

Concept Design

2012 Seminar Schedule
2012 Seminar Participants and Abstracts

Call for Papers for 2012 to be announced in early January 2012

OSEA seeks paper abstracts from emerging scholars who work on tourism issues in Yucatan and Oaxaca. We seek persons whose work is grounded in ethnographic fieldwork and incorporates an historical grounding in their interrogation of issues related to tourism development. We are particularly interested in theoretical frameworks, methodological practices, and approaches that underscore the problems of gaining a regional perspective on ethnographic and historical problems of tourism development. Atlhough we anticipate cultural and sociocultural anthropologists to be primary respondents to this call for papers, we are seeking persons whose work is decidedly inter-, multi- and/or cross-disciplinary in ways that expand our understanding of both the research issues and our investigative approaches to these objects of study.

Participation is competitive and restricted to a small group of persons who can engage in intensive critical interrogation of issues as part of a collective dialogue. Participation of non-presenters is limited by invitation only. Non-presenting colleagues are invited for their potential to contribute to the collective dialogue and in their prioritization of the objectives of the Emerging Scholars Research Seminar. The Research Seminar is designed to be a venue for the professional advancement of emerging scholars, including the development of publications based on the revision of presentations.

Participants are asked to give first opportunity for the publication of their work in a joint publication.

Participation in the ESRS is at the cost of the participant who are encouraged to seek funding from their home institution. Currently, there is no funding available for presenters through OSEA, however sources of support are being investigated for travel support.

Research Agenda for 2012 -- Full Description

Since the pioneering development of the state driven tourism destination Cancun and the subsequent creation of the Maya Riviera, México has been at the international forefront of creating tourism regions and networks as social and economic solutions.  In the course of the last thirty years, anthropology has only slowly taken up the challenge of investigating tourism. Today, however, tourism is not only understood as a serious and important area of research, but has become a significant field of study that implicates a wide range of issues such as economic development, community based applied research, national-international governance, heritage, social transformation, reinvention and reshaping of cultural traditions, ecological and environmental sustainability, migration, health/healing and the articulation of contrasting medical  systems.  The list can go on.  As the volume of anthropology of tourism scholarship continues to expand, anthropological researchers have continued to maintain focus on small scale units, whether this is the community, NGOs, a select category of workers or businesses, a market, or a destination.  Anthropologists have yet to begin to question the constitution, nature and dynamics of tourism regions.  In contrast, industry scholars of all types have always been used a concept of region as a crucial frame in the design, development and maintenance of tourism.  The concept of “region” has come and gone in anthropology more than once, each time within different theoretical frameworks.  The underlying objectives of the Research Seminar then are to develop (a) not only practical descriptive concepts but also (b) potent theoretical-analytical concepts of “tourism region” from the ground up and, therefore, in ways that are closely articulated to the investigative priorities of cultural and applied anthropologies.  Towards this end, we invite paper proposals from emerging scholars (see definition below) that work in either Oaxaca and Yucatan whose ethnographic and historical investigations on tourism issues can contribute to this dialogue on “tourism regions.”

Oaxaca and Yucatán are two culture-geographic regions of México that are often placed together in terms of Mexican politics as they are part of the Indigenous south of México. Yet, anthropologists have mostly ignored the potential for comparative analysis of different kinds of processes. Tourism provides an excellent framework for asking questions about both:  1. How the differences between these regions reveal significant shared dynamics and 2. How the general similarities or generally shared similarities reveal dramatically different dynamics.  Presenters are not necessarily expected to be able to directly address comparative questions or analyze “the” region. Rather presenters are expected to be able to contribute to the exchange of ideas and dialogue on these issues with their specific research situation. Thus, participants are present research on any number of grounded issues — such as state-local interface, NGO-community interaction, social issues (heath, healing, ecology, infrastructure), development (sustainability, urbanism, ruralism, markets, labor), representation and discourse, and ongoing negotiation of cultural forms — that can be analyzed in relation to questions of what is a regions, tourism, and comparative development.

Submission Deadline.
Proposals for papers and requests for screening ethnographic film are accepted through April 7, 2011. Assessment of proposals and determination of conference participants are made within two weeks.

To respond to the call for papers, please read the proposal instructions at the links below. These links provide the information that will be requested on a pdf fill-in form that will be available on December 20. The form must be sent as an attachment to sarah@osea-cite.org

Paper Proposal Form (use this form to propose a paper and a film screening)

Request to Screen Ethnographic Film (use this form if you only wish to screen a film)

Conference Structure: Details, Objectives, Eligibility

Conference Schedule, TBA after Selection of papers and films

OSEA Student Research Conferences

OSEA Hosted Wenner Gren Workshop on Social Archaeologies



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