“Now You’ve all heard the foolish question and you no doubt wonder why,
A person will ask you a foolish question and expect a sensible reply.”
This course, Heritage Tourism, wraps (or warps) historic preservation topics to a wider focus. One goal of the inclusion of a class on Heritage Tourism into the course offerings of the Historic Preservation Department is to embrace a professional arena where the objects of preservation concern are employed to achieve some other (hopefully) useful and sustainable end. Along the way the discussion also helps to explore different paradigms of analysis through which the activities surrounding the use of old stuff are given some explanation.
This class on Heritage Tourism is not about the old places, people, and things that travelers go to see–rather we are focusing on the means and motives of the people who organize and animate the experience of the traveler and those who assemble the experience and make statements of authenticity (a troubling word) about the artifacts and settings they display.
For students who I have not met and maybe for many that I have, I’d like to thank you for joining me in this class. I want very much to have a conversation about the topics of our class, not a monologue. Two activities in which you can participate will aid in this effort. First, critique the content and perhaps my charting of the material through the powerpoint slides. It helps if you have read the material for the class discussion, but even if you have not, or don’t recall the points well, if a statement seems off-base, or not fully developed, please speak up. If there is a glaring defect in material delivered in powerpoint, it centers on the finality of the product, we could and perhaps should be able to add, delete, or change the points on the slides to better fit our understanding of the subject. My second request would be to avoid taking me too seriously so that I make you anxious to speak for fear of contradicting me. I believe any academic subject is better explored with conflicting explanations expressed and supported by evidence or logic. This is not a prayer meeting, but an academic class.