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Dark Tourism: Death, Disaster, Suffering

Edwards, J (2016) Dark Tourism: Death, Disaster, Suffering In: Routledge Companion to Travel Writing. Routledge Companion Series . Routledge, pp. 1-19. ISBN 978-0415825245

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Visiting places of death, disaster, destruction and human suffering is often referred to as dark tourism. Such tourist attractions include a wide range of dark places: battlegrounds, sites of atrocities, massacres and genocides, natural and accidental disasters, slave forts and prisons, as well as the locations of murder or violent crime. The Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland, Robben Island in South Africa, the coastal slave forts of Ghana, the WWI battlefield in Gallipoli, Ground Zero in New York, and the Jack the Ripper Tour in London are just a few popular destinations that fuel the highly lucrative global industry of dark tourism. Although provision and demand has grown over the last two decades, dark tourism is not a new phenomenon. People have long been drawn, purposely or otherwise, towards sites, attractions and events linked in one way or another with death, suffering, violence or disaster. For instance, the American Civil War site of Gettysburg, where fifty thousand men died in July of 1863, attracted many 19th-century visitors, particularly after Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address at the dedication of the National Cemetery in November of the same year. Likewise, after WWI, the battlefield of Flanders Fields, which had suffered four long years of bloodshed, began playing the Last Post each day at Menin Gate (Ypres, Belgium) for the people visiting the site. The darkness of human suffering is also captured in the late 19th- and early 20-century ‘slum travels’ by writers such as Jacob Riis and Jack London: Riis’s How the Other Half Lives (1890) documents the extreme poverty in the tenements of Manhattan’s Lower East Side, and London’s People of the Abyss (1903) captures the homelessness, workhouses and squalid living conditions he encountered during journeys through Whitechapel and Shoreditch. These two texts anticipate the 21st century favela tourism of Brazil, the Township tourism of South Africa or the Dharavi slum tourism of Mumbai.

Item Type: Book Section
Divisions : Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences > School of Literature and Languages
Authors :
Edwards, J
Editors :
Thomson, C
Date : 1 February 2016
Uncontrolled Keywords : Dark Tourism, Charles Dickens, Jack London, Caryl Phillips
Additional Information : Copyright 2015 Routledge. Full text may be available at a later date.
Depositing User : Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited : 21 Oct 2015 15:53
Last Modified : 31 Oct 2017 17:45

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