Street Art in Shoreditch by Maureen Barlin

Lecture: Adventures in the Exotic

Photo courtesy of Wajeehah Aayeshah

I paid a visit today to students in the University of Melbourne subject ‘Going Places – Travelling Smarter‘. I’ve had a long association with the subject, as one of the original teaching team, so popping in for a guest lecture was a bit like doing a reunion tour (without the souvenir t-shirts, of course!).

My lecture was about the trouble with ‘cultural tourism’. Why is it that ‘we’ like to see ‘other’ people when we travel? What do we want? What do we expect? Why do we get our cameras out – should we?

I delved into histories of travel and encounter, of colonialism and orientalism. We thought about what it means to ‘other’ people, with a little help from The Gods Must Be Crazy. And, we looked for the tourist gaze in the recent documentary Framing the Other. I ended with an anthropology meets afro pop mash-up, by explaining what James Clifford has to do with Yemi Alade.

Thanks to Jackie and Jade for having me along. And – good luck out there, travellers!