This is a call for papers for a Special Interest Panel include in the Tourism and Seductions of Difference Conference (Lisbon, Portugal, 10-12 Sept 2010) directed by Cyril Isnart (Cidehus-Universidade de Évora) and Ema Pires (Cria-Iscte and Universidade de Évora).
Reverse-Exoticism: Writing Practices, Alternative Voices and Heritagization
Cyril Isnart (Cidehus-Universidade de Évora)
Ema Pires (CRIA-ISCTE and Universidade de Évora)
While academics have studied ‘heritage’ mainly in terms of a national or elite construction, this panel is interested in the increasingly loud claims to ‘heritage’ emanating from minorities and small social groups. Evoking Michel De Certeau (1988), our emphasis here is on analysing ‘scriptural practices’, both as cultural apparatus and means of production and objectification of minorities’ alternative voices.
In contexts of colonial and social domination, the social identity of many minorities was formed through processes of cultural « exotization ». Exogenous definitions often made it difficult for dominated societies or social classes to claim independent or otherwise autonomous forms of ‘heritage’.
In the recent past, many minorities and small groups have used writing to engage in a process that could be qualified as « reverse-exoticism ». Such a process has become highly visible in the field of literature, the arts and cultural studies, but also in recent normative actions by international organizations, namely Unesco’s Intangible Cultural Heritage Convention (2003) and the European Commission Faro Convention (2005). The access to literacy and thus the ability to tell and write one’s own story appear to have been a key issue marking this turning point in history.
This panel wishes to examine the various motifs underlying the productions of texts by minority groups and their allure within a global cultural economy within which the very idea of ‘minority’ has become a tourist attraction. We welcome papers with a theoretical and/or empirical focus on the role of writing in the construction of ‘inner exoticisms’ and what we term ‘reverse-exoticisms’. Key issues to be discussed are (1) appropriations of transnational ‘heritagization’ patterns by dominated people; (2) social conflicts accompanying or made manifest through processes of ‘heritagization’; and (3) processes of revitalization or defolklorization of cultural practices, both in post-colonial and Western contexts.
De Certeau, M 1988 (1984) «The Scriptural Economy», The Practice of Everyday life [translation of Arts de Faire], Berkeley, University of California Press, pp.131-133.