Are We There Yet? Conceptualizing a Lighter Destination for Dark Tourism Public Deposited

Downloadable Content

Download PDF
Last Modified
  • March 20, 2019
  • Wisler, Caroline Michele
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Anthropology
  • This thesis explores the contemporary phenomenon of dark tourism, defined by Lennon and Foley as the visitation of sites associated with the themes of death, dying, and atrocity. I present an analysis of identified patterns in the use of photography and film, the manipulation of landscape, and general exhibit presentation at dark tourism sites that focuses on dark tourism concerned with the events of the Holocaust, with particular attention given to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Auschwitz-Birkenau, and the Holocaust Museum of Southwest Florida. These patterns contribute to the overall effect of distorting the history and compartmentalizing both spatially and temporally the events presented at dark tourism sites. This effect creates an artificial distancing between the tourist and the events depicted by situating them in a past more distant than to which they actually belong, in turn fostering a perspective that the events central to dark tourism are irrelevant to contemporary society. This artificial distancing, in conjunction with prevalent attitudes toward the tourist community, impacts the potential and purpose of dark tourism sites. Drawing on Nietzsche and Todorov, I conclude that the incorporation of alternative approaches to the presentation and use of history, integrated with the educational methodology presented by Freire and Reardon, may assist in developing the positive potential of dark tourism sites as well as transforming the negative reputation with which dark tourism sites are currently associated.
Date of publication
Resource type
Rights statement
  • In Copyright
  • Wiener, Margaret
  • Open access

This work has no parents.