Tourism and Heritage Topical Interest Group

Tourism and Heritage Topical Interest Group: 2018 SfAA Annual Meetings Preview

koenig.jpgContributing editor: Eric Koenig
MA program in Applied Anthropology
University of South Florida

2018 SfAA Annual Meetings Tourism and Heritage TIG Preparation

Welcome to the Tourism and Heritage Topical Interest Group! We hope you had a productive fall and are looking forward to the 78th Annual Meetings of the SfAA in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (April 3-7, 2018). In recent years, anthropologists and other social scientists have been interested in the socio-cultural, economic, environmental, and political opportunities, challenges, metrics, impacts, preconditions, and contradictions as well as the narrative discourses, identity politics, marketing efforts, educational initiatives, flows, interconnections and disjunctures, constituent dynamics and participation, and (inter)subjective experiences underpinning “sustainability” projects, programs, products, movements, and processes. These initiatives, services, and commodities operate at various scales across space and place, particularly for the tourism industry and tourism development. The papers, sessions, roundtables, films, and tours at this year’s Annual Meetings explore the theme of “Sustainable Futures,” including engagement with diverse communities to perpetuate heritage, historic resources, and livelihoods to meet the needs and aspirations of diverse groups of contemporary people and their descendants in the future. As a center for politics, economic activity, the arts, education, industrialization, and immigration throughout United States history, the “City of Brotherly Love” provides us with a meeting place to reflect on and engage with imaginaries of the urban American spirit, the (im)mobilities of geopolitics, activism, art, resistance, and revolution, and the dialectic between heritage, history, and tourism in the past, present, and future. As we gaze toward the preeminent historical landmarks, parks, museums, and rich culinary and sporting attractions in the U.S.A.’s first World Heritage City and prepare for the annual conference, we wanted to send out a few reminders to encourage continued participation in and support of the tourism and heritage research and activities facilitated by our TIG.

Our topical interest group will be hosting a number of sessions throughout the meetings, including a special session on Philadelphia / Pennsylvania Day (Tuesday, April 3rd, 3:30 – 5:20 p.m. in Regency C1) titled “Preserving Philadelphia’s Past and Investing in Its Future: Sustainable Solutions for America’s First World Heritage City.” This interdisciplinary panel (chaired by Melissa Stevens of the Global Philadelphia Association) brings together Philadelphia heritage practitioners to discuss issues of sustainability in heritage preservation, interpretation, and education. In addition to our sponsored sessions and roundtables, we plan to organize a community-based tour that will coincide with the Tourism and Heritage TIG business meeting on Thursday evening (April 5th, 5:30 – 7:20 p.m. in The Loews Philadelphia Hotel, Tubman room). Further information about the tour will be circulated through the THTIG listserv and advertised as the Meetings approach. See below for a full list of the tourism and heritage research panels and activities facilitated by our TIG at this year’s SfAA conference in Philly.

The Annual Meetings will bring together thousands of scholars, applied practitioners, non-profit leaders, community organizers, artists, and activists from around the world. Thus, travel lodgings nearby the Loews Philadelphia Hotel around Center City are becoming scarce as the Meetings approach, so be sure to book your accommodations soon!

Valene Smith Tourism Poster Competition

The 12th Annual Valene Smith Tourism Poster Competition will be held during the Student Poster session at the 2018 SfAA meetings in Philadelphia on Thursday, April 5th, between 3:00 – 5:20 p.m. in the Loews Philadelphia Hotel, Millennium Hall. The poster competition honors the legacy of Valene Smith, a pioneer of tourism studies in the social sciences, who first published her seminal work Hosts and Guests: The Anthropology of Tourism in 1977.

One poster will be selected to receive the top Valene Smith prize of $500 and two posters will receive honorable mention with travel awards of $250 each. The top three tourism posters will be displayed at the 2017 SfAA Awards Ceremony on Friday evening, April 6th. More information about the Valene Smith Tourism Poster Competition can be found at the links below:

This year’s poster contest includes original research by 16 promising undergraduate and graduate students (presenting 11 posters) relating to a variety of tourism, heritage, and museum studies topics, and began with the submission of poster abstracts to the SfAA in October of 2017. See below for a list of eligible posters, and be sure to check out the poster session to see and hear the students present their work! 

Audley, Katherina (Whales of Guerrero Research Project)
“Restoring the Ocean and Protecting Megafauna in Guerrero, Mexico through Participatory Research, Cultural Interchange and Capacity Building”

Beall, Paula (NAU)
“Loss of Heritage, Culture, and Identity” 

Bellow, Dakota (Baylor U)
“On the Radar: Understanding Climate Change for Your Tourism Business in Belize”

Missal, River, Theurer, Alyssa, Theurer, Kasey, Vanbuskirk, Andrew, and Rice, Brent (Bloomsburg U)
“Walk’n the Walk: Community Archaeology as Local Revitalization” 

Palacios, Karen (UNL)
“Wow, I Wish I Had Known!”: How Social Capital Affects Hispanic Parents’ Dreams of Sending Their Children to College”

Plemmons, Noel (Portland State U)
“Climate Displacement in Gunayala: Sustainable Development or Socio-Environmental Decline?”

Rodden, Emily (WCUPA)
“Italian Agritourismi, Globalization and Tradition”

Romero, Raquel (NAU)
“Tribal Outreach Programs at Yosemite National Park”

Stutz, Kathryn (U Puget Sound)
“The Ethics and Practicalities of the Museum Collection”

Thompson, Christine and Nolan, Kevin (Ball State U)
“Re-Interpretation of a Northwest Indian War Battlefield”

Ursin, Nicole (UALR)
“Understanding Museum Demographics: Historic Arkansas Museum”

For further information about the Valene Smith Tourism Poster Competition, please contact Stefan Krause or the SfAA office.  

Student Paper Competition

We plan to continue the Tourism and Heritage Student Paper Competition at future SfAA annual meetings. The Tourism and Heritage Student Paper Competition in past years had showcased the original research of undergraduate and graduate students exploring the themes of heritage and/or tourism, broadly conceived. After review by a committee selected by the TIG, the papers that had demonstrated the greatest potential to advance applied scholarship in tourism and heritage studies were chosen to be part of a special organized paper session at the SfAA Annual Meetings, where an award of $500 was presented to the best paper. 

In order for the student paper competition to continue to celebrate and support the work of future tourism and heritage scholars, a more permanent fund and possible recurring sponsor for the competition will need to be established, so please consider making a contribution to the Award Fund for the student paper competition. The future of the very successful paper competition rests on the TIG members to start an endowment for the award. You might even consider making a larger donation so that we can begin an endowment that would fund the paper in perpetuity. We are also open to naming the competition in honor of a donor or someone you would like to memorialize. The SfAA Executive Board has indicated they would much prefer to have in place an endowment that will fund the award well into the future.  They are suggesting $10,000 as the minimum for the endowment. Thus, that is our current fund-raising goal. Please help the TIG out in reaching it as soon as possible. Your donation is tax-deductible and will directly facilitate the continued development and growth of tourism and heritage scholarship! For details on how to contribute, please contact the SfAA Office or Melissa Stevens.

Sessions of Interest Relating to Tourism and Heritage Studies

Numerous sessions, roundtables, and individual papers relating to the topics of tourism, heritage, and museum studies are planned over the course of the SfAA Annual Meetings in Philadelphia, including several sessions sponsored by our own TIG. Browse the list below for any sessions relating to tourism and heritage studies that may be of interest to you.

(T-69) TUESDAY 12:00-1:20
Regency C1
Black History, Heritage, and Scholarship: Setting the Table for a Sustainable Future

(T-129) TUESDAY 3:30-5:20
Regency C1
Preserving Philadelphia’s Past and Investing in Its Future: Sustainable Solutions for America’s First World Heritage City (Tourism TIG) *

CHAIR: STEVENS, Melissa (Global Philadelphia Association)

(W-05) WEDNESDAY 8:00-9:50
Commonwealth D
Building Sustainable Co-Management in the National Park Service through Community Action (Tourism TIG) *


(W-17) WEDNESDAY 8:00-9:50
Disasters, Climate Change, and Vulnerability (Risk & Disaster TIG)

(W-32) WEDNESDAY 10:00-11:50
Commonwealth A2
Culture, Development and the Extraction of Resources (Extraction TIG)

(W-35) WEDNESDAY 10:00-11:50
Commonwealth D
At the Intersection of Public Folklore and Applied Anthropology

(W-65) WEDNESDAY 12:00-1:20
Commonwealth D
Conducting Sponsored Research for the National Park Service with Native Tribal Nations: Challenges and Prospects (Tourism TIG)*

CHAIRS: HILL, Matthew (UMass) and GISH HILL, Christina (Iowa State U) 

(W-95) WEDNESDAY 1:30-3:20
Commonwealth D
Can Tourism and Heritage Preservation Be Mutually Sustainable?: Views from the Inside, Part I (Tourism TIG)*

CHAIRS: DI GIOVINE, Michael (West Chester U) and BRONDO, Keri (U Memphis)

(W-107) WEDNESDAY 1:30-3:20
Sustainable Futures of Chesapeake Communities Facing Relative Sea-level Rise (Risk & Disaster TIG)

(W-122) WEDNESDAY 3:30-5:20
Commonwealth A2
Conservation: Planning, Policy, Collaboration (Extraction TIG)

(W-125) WEDNESDAY 3:30-5:20
Commonwealth D
Can Tourism and Heritage Preservation Be Mutually Sustainable?: Views from the Inside, Part II (Tourism TIG) *

CHAIRS: DI GIOVINE, Michael (West Chester U) and BRONDO, Keri (U Memphis)

(W-153) WEDNESDAY 5:30-7:20
Commonwealth B
Sustainable Relationships: The Future of Applied Anthropology in Native Communities
J. Anthony Paredes Memorial Plenary
Reception to Follow

(W-155) WEDNESDAY 5:30-7:20
Commonwealth D
Young Researchers Tackle Heritage and Sustainable Tourism Development (Tourism TIG) * 

CHAIRS: DI GIOVINE, Michael (West Chester U) and BRONDO, Keri (U Memphis)

(TH-05) THURSDAY 8:00-9:50
Commonwealth D
Maya Heritage, Communities and Change in Contemporary Guatemala: Reports from the 2017 Ethnographic Field School, Part I (Tourism TIG)*


(TH-35) THURSDAY 10:00-11:50
Commonwealth D
Maya Heritage, Communities and Change in Contemporary Guatemala: Reports from the 2017 Ethnographic Field School, Part II (Tourism TIG)*


(TH-107) THURSDAY 1:30-3:20
Towards an Applied Anthropology of Small Cities

(TH-122) THURSDAY 3:30-5:20
Commonwealth A2
Anthropological Contribution to Environmental Communication, Part II (Extraction TIG)

(TH-131) THURSDAY 3:30-5:20
Sustainable Museology: Leveraging Anthropology to Meet the Changing Landscape of Museums

(F-11) FRIDAY 8:00-9:50
Constructions and Perceptions of Identity in Tourism (Tourism TIG) *

CHAIR: BOLTON, Ralph (Chijnaya Fdn)

(F-15) FRIDAY 8:00-9:50
Washington B
Situating Disability Worlds in Latin America

(F-41) FRIDAY 10:00-11:50
Between History and Heritage: Narrating the Past in Present Times

(F-50) FRIDAY 10:00-11:50
Congress B

(F-69) FRIDAY 12:00-1:20
Regency C1
Representation, Agency, and Access in Applied Museum Anthropology

(F-101) FRIDAY 1:30-3:20
Changing Uses and Interpretations of Heritage Spaces and Practices (Tourism TIG) *

CHAIR: WINN, Alisha (ARWinn Consulting)

(F-131) FRIDAY 3:30-5:20
The Cultural, Economic, and Environmental Sustainability of Touristic Places (Tourism TIG) *


(S-02) SATURDAY 8:00-9:50
Commonwealth A2
Compelling Conservation: Cultural Benefits and Value of Ecosystems, Part I (Extraction TIG)

(S-04) SATURDAY 8:00-9:50
Commonwealth C
Access to Health Care for Immigrants and Refugees: Perceptions and Practices

(S-13) SATURDAY 8:00-9:50
Development Policy and Local Practice

(S-100) SATURDAY 1:30-3:20
Regency C2
Policy and Local Responses to Climate Change (Risk & Disaster TIG)

*Please note that the organized paper sessions and individual papers detailed were pulled from the Preliminary Program. Please consult the final version of the program for any possible changes.

Regional Tourism Activities Facilitated through the SfAA 

A total of eight sponsored tours are being facilitated by the SfAA at a number of cultural heritage, historical, artistic, culinary, museum, natural history, health, and touristic sites, localities, and events around the greater Philadelphia metropolitan area. These tours are listed below. All tours will meet at The Loews Philadelphia Hotel, SfAA registration desk, unless otherwise specified. Be sure to check out the SfAA website ( annual-meeting/workshops/tour-registration/) for specific tour details, pricing, and information about how to register! Online registration is first-come, first-served and extends through March 21st.

1.)   Chinatown Tour (Tuesday, April 3rd and Wednesday, April 4th, 2:45 – 5:30 p.m.) 

2.)   Reading Terminal Market Tour (Wednesday, April 4th, 9:45 – 11:30 a.m., and Friday, April 6th, 10:45 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.) 

3.)   What Hunting for Dinosaurs Reveal about Man’s Place in the Universe (Thursday, April 5th, 9:15 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.)  

4.)   Center for Native American and Indigenous Research at the American Philosophical Society Library (Thursday, April 5th, 12:45 – 3:00 p.m.) 

5.)   Mural Arts Program Walking Tour (Thursday, April 5th, 9:45 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.) 

6.)   Making History on the Landscape of Independence National Historical Park (Friday, April 6th, 9:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.)  

7.)   Bearing Witness: Four Days in West Kingston (Friday, April 6th, 1:00 – 4:30 p.m.) 

8.)   Sustainable Futures: The Global Health Workforce (Friday, April 6th, 2:15 – 5:30 p.m.)

Our topical interest group also will organize a community-based tour that will coincide with the THTIG business meeting on Thursday, April 5th (see below). Further information about the tour will be circulated through the THTIG listserv and advertised at the Meetings.

Tourism and Heritage TIG Business Meeting

Join us for the Tourism and Heritage TIG annual business meeting, where we will circulate ideas to promote the anthropology of tourism and heritage through our TIG as well as discuss the annual Valene Smith tourism poster competition, plans for creating an annual fund for the Tourism and Heritage Student Paper Competition, and ways to become involved in planning for the TIG’s participation in next year’s SfAA meetings. The annual THTIG business meeting will be held on Thursday, April 5th, between 5:30 – 7:20 p.m. in The Loews Philadelphia Hotel, Tubman room. We welcome the participation of students, faculty, and other tourism and heritage scholars as well as members of the broader public, and look forward to your input and ideas.  

Future Columns Call for Contributions

The Tourism and Heritage TIG would like to see your work published here! Please send us your fieldwork reports, extended abstracts for recently published materials or for panels at upcoming SfAA meetings, book and film reviews, and editorials on topics pertaining to the anthropology of tourism and heritage for potential inclusion in future newsletter columns. All contributions for consideration in the THTIG newsletter column should be sent to Melissa Stevens ( or Eric Koenig ( See below for a list of submission options:*

  • Brief (500 – 1,500 words) fieldwork reports from graduate students / faculty / non-academic professionals involved in tourism and heritage research project
  • Extended abstracts (200 – 500 words) for recently published papers / books / films based on tourism and heritage research by members and where to access the articles / media; or extended abstracts for panels / roundtables at an upcoming SfAA annual meeting
  • Brief reviews (350 – 1,100 words) of recent tourism and heritage-related books and films
  • Brief editorials (300 – 1,500 words) on current issues and trends in the anthropology of tourism and heritage

* Note that the word count for submissions includes references, and footnotes or endnotes should not be used.

Stay Connected and Become Involved in the Tourism and Heritage TIG through:

TourismTIG List-serve: Subscribe by contacting Tim Wallace ( or Melissa Stevens (

Facebook: Topical-Interest-Group/139663493424


About the Contributing THTIG Column Editor

Eric Koenig is a graduate from the MA program in Applied Anthropology at the University of South Florida. His research interests and professional aspirations focus on sustainable development, heritage conservation, public policy, tourism development and human rights issues, particularly for marginalized groups of people in the Americas. Over three summer seasons of research between 2013 and 2015, Eric conducted multi-methods ethnographic research on the Placencia Peninsula, Belize, investigating local, national, and tourist conceptions of coastal heritage and their implications for community-based tourism and sustainable development initiatives that served as the basis for his Master’s thesis. Currently, he is working on a heritage conservation and tourism development project in partnership with community-based organizations in a predominately Garifuna afro-indigenous village on the peninsula.