[P4812] Tourism, Heritage, and the Politics of Place in the Middle East

Created by Daniel Coslett
Sunday, 11/19/17 10:30am


The production of ‘place’ can be defined as the process though which territorial locations and spaces are given specific cultural, social, or economic meanings. A complex process, it engages a diversity of agents who participate both locally and globally. Tourism is one of the world’s largest industries that depends essentially on the management of built environments. As such, the realms of tourism and heritage management remain fruitful venues for studying the production of place and its consumption by increasingly mobile populations. To these ends, this panel explores how issues of tourism development, urban political economy, and the construction of narratives of national identity define a politics of place-making in several contemporary Middle East contexts. A range of actors and forces from government policies, urban activists, and cultural heritage managers, to the tastes of tourists and profit motives of local developers and international tourism firms, contribute to the definition and reshaping of urban spaces, tourism sites, and national images. Conflicting approaches and interests imbue places with compelling meaning and cultivate a relevant dynamism worthy of attention in today's globalizing context. The questions raised here are many: What messages are conveyed through the development and exploitation of heritage-based touristic assets? Who benefits from tourism? Which aspects of heritage are privileged by tourism in the Middle East? How do current events shape tourists’ preferences and behaviors in the region? What lies ahead for the future of Middle Eastern heritage-based tourism?

The papers on this panel address the development and consumption of Islamic tourism in Jordan, the construction of Arab tourism in Lebanon, rival forms of political tourism in Israel/Palestine, the management of heritage tourism across Egypt, and the urban revitalization of Cairo in the post-revolutionary era. Together the assembled papers represent some of the latest heritage- and tourism-based research addressing sites that remain significant both within the region and beyond.


Intl Rltns/Aff



Nadya J. Sbaiti

(American University of Beirut)
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;

Ala Al-Hamarneh

(University of Mainz)
Panel Participating Role(s): Discussant;

Claire Panetta

(CUNY Graduate Center)
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;

Daniel Coslett

(Western Washington University)
Panel Participating Role(s): Chair; Organizer;

Emily Schneider

(University of California - Santa Barbara)
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;

Sandrine Gamblin

(American University in Cairo)
Sandrine Gamblin is an assistant professor of Political Science, and director of the Middle East Studies Center, at the American University in Cairo. Before joining AUC, S. Gamblin worked for the French foreign affairs ministry, at the French University...
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;

Norig Neveu

Since September 2014, Norig Neveu is a research fellow at the Ifpo, Amman. As a specialist of contemporary history, she has been conducting research for the last ten years in the Middle East, consulting various archives and doing interviews with witnesses...
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;