Workshop on Tourist Utopias

In April 2013 the Department of Communication hosted a workshop on the topic of “Tourist Utopias.” The workshop was organized by Tim Simpson and participants included Keller Easterling (Yale School of Architecture), Pal Nyiri (Anthropology, VU Univ., Amsterdam), Panivong Norindr (Comparative Literature, USC), Angela Ndalianis (Media Studies, Univ. of Melbourne), Veronica Della Dora (Geography, Royal Holloway), Daniel Koh (Sociology, National Univ. of Singapore), and Yasser Elsheshtawy (Architecture, UAE Univ.). Participants discussed, theorized, and analyzed examples of Tourist Utopias, an emergent urban form including Macau, Abu Dhabi, Singapore, Dubai, Mt. Athos, Disneyland, and Boten SEZ in Laos. These sites share common characteristics which include their status as enclave “spaces of exception” within larger states; governance regimes that rely on cooperation by both state and non-state actors; transient multi-national populations of tourists and workers; superlative and iconic architecture; and economies devoted to such heterotopian leisure activities as shopping, gambling, sightseeing, spectacle, and amusement. For more information please visit here.