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Historicizing Volunteer Tourism: An Exploratory Workshop

A Centre for the Study of War, State and Society workshop
Date24 May 2017
PlaceQueens Building N

An exploratory workshop hosted by CWSS:

Is volunteering abroad a contemporary iteration of the 'White Man’s Burden’? At the turn of the Twentieth Century, Rudyard Kipling’s famous poem urged would-be imperialists to ‘send forth’ their best people in the service of colonial ‘improvement.’ In the Twenty-First Century, the placement of—often young, ‘gap year’—tourists in the Global South through so-called ‘voluntourism’ schemes is big business, and embroiled in questions about its ‘neo-colonial’ qualities.

This exploratory workshop problematises the transnational movement of people through volunteering programmes, and asks: what are the historical antecedents of ‘voluntourism’? How might historians contextualise, and engage critically with, this growing and controversial industry? Led by Dr. Rebecca Williams (Exeter), and Dr. Becky Jinks (Royal Holloway), the aim of the workshop is to explore approaches to the problem of volunteer tourism, and generate/refine research questions and methodologies that will help give direction to future research and funding bids.

ProviderCentre for the Study of War, State and Society
Speaker(s)Dr Rebecca Williams and Dr Becky Jinks
Registration informationAll welcome; no booking required

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