In this four-part lecture series, we’ll take an in-depth look into the evolution of travel culture in the West as essential to the colonial project and how decolonial disruptions of said culture actually tap into its revolutionary power.
Where do decolonization movements and travel culture meet? If we decenter whiteness and leisure from “travel” and instead interpret it as a vehicle to explore the practice of movement—how we got here, where we’re at now, and where we might go (or where we shouldn’t)—it could show us what role it can play in both dominating and dismantling oppressive power structures. There will be an emphasis on how participants’ respective ancestries have shaped our relationships to place and our positionality in hierarchies. But mostly, we’ll study the not-so-hidden agendas of the master travel narrator, the link between human zoos and travel media, an how the tradition of internationalist solidarity shows how travel culture is actually essential to the movement toward decolonization.
This is a class for folks of all walks of life, though it may be more accessible to those who have at least a basic grasp of social justice.
Syllabus At A Glance
This course includes four total sessions, each lasting two hours on four consecutive Sundays, beginning September 11.
Session 1 (Sunday, 9/11, 2–4:00 PM ET)| Defining Decolonization, Travel Culture, and Queering Cartography
We’ll be taking our time to define both decolonization and travel culture before moving into cartography’s impact on our distorted worldviews that center the colonizer as the global authority on place. These definitions will lay the groundwork for the following lectures.
Session 2 (Sunday, 9/18, 2–4:00 PM ET)| Human Zoos, Slum Tours, and the Voyeuristic Violence of Travel Media
Human zoos established the pseudoscience of white supremacy as a form of entertainment in the early 19th century, but forms of them still live on in tourism today. In this session, we’ll look at travel media’s voyeurism problem, photography as a means of consumption, and the industry’s continued obsession with the Other as a site of study and leisure, from Thailand and Kenya to The Bronx and Compton.
Session 3 (Sunday, 9/25, 2–4:00 PM ET)| Wander/Lust: Tourism’s Eroticism and the Patriarchal Objectification of Place
Travel media has a storied history of employing racial and gendered stereotypes to advertise place to the consumer, objectifying both women and land as a seductive commodity. These imaginaries play out in the relationship between the BIWOC laborer and the uninvited tourist, and in this lecture, we’ll discuss how consent can be navigated under the conditions of capitalism in travel culture. We’ll also be joined by Dr. Vernadette Vicuña Gonzales, co-editor of Detours: A Decolonial Guide to Hawai’i, as a guest speaker.
Session 4 (Sunday, 10/2, 2–4:00 PM ET)| The Revolutionary Power of Travel (And Anti-Travel)
What role can travel play in the movement toward decolonization? In our final session, we’ll be looking at historical examples of travel as a revolutionary tool and at current decolonial travel frameworks while also asking, when is it more generative and necessary to stay put? When we redefine what we consider to be travel, we can see how it’s not all colonial or oppressive in nature, and differentiate between ethical travel efforts and revolutionary ones.
Live ASL interpretation will be available upon request. After registering for this class, you'll receive a link to an anonymous form to request ASL interpretation. Please take care to submit this form no later than September 8, 2022.
Captioning and image descriptions will be provided throughout the course, and transcripts will be shared following each session. Please reach out to us at email@example.com if you have any questions or additional requests.
Those interested in learning more outside of class will have access to optional readings and resources.
This course is available at three ticket prices. This tiered pricing model is designed to increase access for a wider range of students as well as to support our instructors. In addition to tiered tickets, we offer a limited number of no-pay spots for students who would not otherwise be able to take this course. No-pay spots are selected via a randomized drawing two weeks before each section begins. For more information and to apply for a no-pay spot, please click here. We've also reserved several additional no-pay spots for BIPOC. You can apply for those here.
To learn more about our pricing model and randomized selection process for no-pay spots, please visit our FAQ page.
Community Guidelines for Students
Please take a moment to review our community guidelines for students, which aim to share our classroom ethos and help set the stage for the best possible learning experience.
Atlas Obscura Online Courses
Atlas Obscura Courses offer opportunities for participants to emerge with new skills, knowledge, connections, and perspectives through multi-session classes designed and taught by expert instructors. To learn more about our current course offerings, please visit www.atlasobscura.com/online-courses. For answers to commonly asked questions, check out our FAQ page here.Founded in 2009, Atlas Obscura created the definitive community-driven guide to incredible places across the planet and is now an award-winning company that shares the world’s hidden wonders in person and online.
Once registered, you’ll receive a confirmation email from Eventbrite that will provide access to each class meeting. Please save the confirmation email as you’ll use it to access all sessions of your course via Zoom.
Bani Amor is a gender/queer travel writer who explores the relationships between race, place, and power. Their work has appeared in CNN Travel, Fodor’s, Teen Vogue, and Lonely Planet, among other outlets, and in the anthology Outside the XY: Queer Black and Brown Masculinity. Bani is a four-time VONA/Voices Fellow who leads workshops and gives lectures on decolonization and travel culture. Follow them on Instagram at @baniamor and Twitter @bani_amor.
This lecture series is designed so students can participate live or watch a recording of each session, after it airs, at a time that is convenient for them. Sessions will take place live over Zoom, with dedicated Q&A segments for students to ask questions via video or chat. Within 72 hours after each session meets, students will receive access to a recording of the live session, which they can watch for up to two weeks after the course concludes.
Instructors may use Google Classroom to communicate with students outside of class. While students aren’t required to use Google Classroom, instructors may use this platform to post resources, discussion questions, or assignments. This platform also offers a space for students to connect with one another about course material between sessions.
This course is recommended for folks 18+
Sun, Sep 11, 20222:00 p.m.–4:00 p.m.$85