The news feed from the Centre for Culture and the Creative Industries at City, University of London

Public Lecture Announcement: Homeland Tourism on July 20

Jillian Powers guest lecture flyer

Dr Jillian Powers (Brandeis University) will be in London on July 20 to give a lecture on “The Baggage of Tourism: Collecting Memories and Navigating Kinship on “Diaspora Homeland Tours.” All welcome!

Date and Time: July 20, 5 pm

Location: Royal College of Physicians, 11 St Andrews Place, Regent’s Park, London NW1 4LE

Abstract: Diasporic tourism—structured group tours to natal, symbolic and ancestral homelands—is a growing industry where globalization, migration, leisure and the symbolic economy converge. Drawing from three different homeland tours—a Taglit-Birthright tour to Israel, a slavery/heritage tour to Ghana, and an adoption heritage tour to China—I analyze the complicated interactions that take place in the touristic border zone in order to reveal the paradoxes inherent in going abroad to find home. While homeland tourists self identify as members, they encounter locals mainly as outsiders—tourists. To make sense of both the awkward moments of dissonance and the comfortable ones of connection diaspora tourists creatively and strategically modify kinship. These exploratory journeys in fictive and imagined kin can be uncomfortable, however, commemorating the journey is crucial. How tourists navigate the commodification of culture and the boundaries of belonging reveal how American identities are formed at the intersection of globalizing futures and ancestral pasts.

Bio: Dr Jillian Powers is the Florence Kay Fellow in Immigration and American Society at Brandeis University. She received her Ph.D. in Sociology from Duke University in 2011 with an emphasis on cultural sociology and comparative/historical methods. Dr Powers has been published in peer-reviewed journals like the American Behavioral Scientist and the Chinese Historical Society’s Journal History and Perspectives and is currently working on a book manuscript, Traveling to Belong.

RSVP not required, but if you have any questions, please contact: Casey Brienza (

sbbj806 • July 6, 2015

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