Tourism, the Holocaust, and the Humanities

By Daniel P. Reynolds.

Published by The Humanities Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The growing and, for some, troubling phenomenon of Holocaust tourism demands more attention than it has received in either the social sciences or the humanities. In fact, Holocaust tourism illustrates the necessity of drawing upon the humanities to develop a richer understanding of tourism of any kind. This paper follows on the research on tourism that has emerged from anthropology, political science, and economics, and brings it into conversation with the humanities’ explorations of moral philosophy, visual culture, and representation. While anthropologists such as Dennison Nash, Dean MacCannell and others have offered critical insights into the practices and agents who comprise tourism, their studies leave room for the rich aesthetic and ethical reflection available from the humanities. By drawing on the reflections of Giorgio Agamben, and Michel Foucault, this paper ultimately makes two arguments. First, Holocaust Tourism requires interdisciplinary study that exceeds the traditional confines of the social sciences or the humanities, since the complexity inherent in the practice of Holocaust tourism poses new challenges to disciplinary conceptions about both tourism and the Holocaust. Secondly, through the exploration of Holocaust-related travel, the paper suggests that tourism need not be dismissed as simple consumerism, but in fact may provide an opportunity for critical engagement with history, one that is becoming increasingly common around the globe.

Keywords: Holocaust, Tourism, History and Historiography, Interdisciplinarity, Memory, Place

International Journal of the Humanities, Volume 9, Issue 3, pp.157-166. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 913.116KB).

Prof. Daniel P. Reynolds

Associate Professor of German Studies, German Department, Grinnell College, Grinnell, Iowa, USA

Daniel Reynolds is an Associate Professor of German Studies at Grinnell College in Iowa, USA, where he has taught since 1998. He earned his PhD in Germanic Languages and Literatures from Harvard University in 1996, and his B.S. from Georgetown University in 1986. His research has focused on the relationship between historiography and narrative fiction in German literature since Nietzsche, and on literature and visual culture as critical engagements with the past. He has published articles on Bernhard Schlink, Rainer Maria Rilke, Uwe Timm, and Günter Grass. His is currently writing a book about the phenomenon of Holocaust tourism as an emerging form of engagement with history.

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