A Road Runs Through It: Tourism, Culture, and the Politics of Conservation

2:00 pm
Whatcom Museum
Old City Hall Rotunda at 121 Prospect Street
Bellingham, Washington 98225
Whatcom Museum
(360) 778-8930

Tourism is often seen as a passive activity—something that simply adds value to already existing areas. But tourism is an industry that depends on specific notions of what “nature” and “wildlife” mean, what their value is, and how best to protect them.

How does tourism shape the very meaning and value of a landscape? Who gets to speak for nature and wildlife: local people or conservationists? What do the words “nature” and “wildlife” even mean?

Explore the concept of conservation through the lens of safari tourism in Tanzania, where the Maasai community has found itself struggling at the intersection of environmental activism, tourism, land rights, and civic rights; and where a proposed highway through the Serengeti sparked international outrage.

Author and professor Ben Gardner tells the story of how safari tourism in Tanzania shapes the very meaning and value of the landscape, and why Maasai communities have organized to fight for control of their land.

Funded project of Humanities Washington, a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.