The 53rd Annual Morris Fromkin Memorial Lecture
The Comforts of Heritage: Race, Tourism,
and Memory in the American South
October 27, 2022 at 4:00 p.m.
The 2022 Morris Fromkin Memorial Lecture will be presented by Shevaun Watson (Associate Professor, UWM Department of English) with an introduction by Derek Handley (Assistant Professor, UWM Department of English).
This lecture will be presented simultaneously in person and virtually on Zoom. Click here to register for the event.
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About the research:
Many Americans profess to learning a great deal about history and heritage through travel to sites of cultural significance. While tourism offers enjoyable encounters with history, these experiences can be problematic when that history involves uncomfortable truths about our shared past, especially in relation to slavery, the Civil War, and systemic racism. Heritage tourism of the American South, with its contested memorial landscapes, and its millions of visitors each year, draws our attention to the complex and unsuspecting ways that leisure travel shapes people’s understandings of race and racism in the United States.
Watson’s research, which is focused on Charleston, South Carolina, explores how tourists are invited to remember the South and its role in history in strategic ways through the built environment, heritage displays, guided tours, and other tourist experiences. She finds that comfort—physical and psychological ease—functions as a powerful common denominator connecting tourism, heritage, race, and memory. Heritage tourism in the South is an especially salient lens for considering contemporary issues of antiracism and social justice because it compels us to ask how comfort can at once draw so many people into the fraught spaces of the historical roots of racial injustice, yet also undercut the collective will for social and political change.
This event is by the UWM Libraries. The UWM Libraries invite proposals for the 2023 Fromkin Research Grant and Lectureship. The grant encourages and assists UWM scholars in all fields of study to conduct research on individuals, groups, movements, and ideas, in the Americas and elsewhere, which have influenced the quest for social justice and human rights in the United States. To learn more about the grant and submit a proposal, visit our website.