Today concludes the series of posts celebrating books that have changed tourism written by women authors for Academic Book Week. If you have been following the series you would have realized that we have taken to celebrating more recent books that we hope will change the industry and the academy alongside more established texts. Today we will start with one such book by Catheryn Khoo-Lattimore and Erica Wilson, who edited the 2017 Women and Travel: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives. This book is important for three specific reasons, 1) it has continued the focus on women and advocated for the credibility of both gender and tourism studies, 2) It will help to shift the Western-centric approach to gender and/in tourism, and 3) it reminds us that we still live in a patriarchal world and no we are not there yet.
Dr Freya Higgins-Desbiolles comments:
Back in the 1990s, when Non-governmental Organisations still had integrity and critical tourism studies largely focused on criticising tourism with its multitude of negative impacts, Deborah McLaren presented her first edition of Rethinking Tourism and Ecotravel. Deborah knew what she talked about; she was first a Director of the Rethinking Tourism Project and then the Director of Indigenous Tourism Rights International. Her work critically reviewed the “promises of tourism”. She then presented some critical insights into the disillusionment of the hosts and the guests with tourism fantasies of paradise and also of tourism as a pathway to development. The call to rethink tourism focused on the local community control, respect for human rights and issues of justice. She presented a second edition in 2003.
Tourism scholars often face ethical issues surrounding what and who they study, alongside how to live by what we teach. As feminist scholars we must also remember that the personal is political, for me this very much means that feminism starts in the home. One scholar who lives her values and writes with hope is Sara Ahmed, whose book Cultural Politics of Emotion in 2004 depicts the way we can move forward:
Solidarity does not assume that our struggles are the same struggles, or that our pain is the same pain, or that our hope is for the same future. Solidarity involves commitment, and work, as well as the recognition that even if we do not have the same feelings, or the same lives, or the same bodies, we do live on common ground.
Sara’s definition of solidarity should be applicable to tourism researchers everywhere regardless of nationality, ethnicity or gender. We started this series of posts by highlighting the gendered nature of the academy and we will finish it by calling on everyone to stand in solidarity with female academics, to cite them, to invite them as keynote speakers and to turn down offers to talk on manels. This series of posts has highlighted a number of women experts and this has only focused on books, so the time of excuses is over. If you still doubt that we need feminism, or that you too should join the movement then I will finish with one last book especially for you: Bell Hooks Feminism is for everybody: Passionate politics.