Skip to main content

Taking global tourism to teachers

September 8, 2016

“Notice that luxury tourism advertisements reflect large, expansive spaces – and the promise of quietude,” said Switzerland’s University of Bern Professor of Language and Communication Crispin Thurlow to 24 competitively selected community college faculty from Washington, Oregon, Wisconsin and Michigan gathered at Odegaard Undergraduate Library on July 14.

“But how is labor represented in tourism? It is visible and invisible. Someone had to arrange those lounge chairs by the pool in a perfectly straight line, but no one is in the photo.”

Professor Crespin Thurlow from the University of Bern, Switzerland, who served as the keynote speaker for the 2016 Community College Master Teacher Institute discusses the global tourism industry and its impact on sustainability and communities around the world.

Professor Crespin Thurlow from the University of Bern, Switzerland, who served as the keynote speaker for the 2016 Community College Master Teacher Institute at UW, discusses the global tourism industry and its impact on sustainability and communities around the world.

Thurlow shared his research on the topic of tourism, globalization, communities and sustainability as the keynote speaker for the Jackson School’s 2016 Community College Master Teacher Institute, an annual two-day curriculum development workshop.

Facilitated by Tamara Leonard, Managing Director of the Center for Global Studies at the Jackson School, the Institute is sponsored by the School’s Title VI National Resource Centers, Northwest International Education Association, Global Business Center at the Michael G. Foster School of Business – University of Washington, and the Institute for Regional and International Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Since 2003, this summer program has enabled over 300 community college faculty to incorporate new information on international studies into their teaching, develop activities to bring back to the classroom and network with colleagues.

Connecting scholarship to what the world needs

This year’s topic “Global Tourism: A Multidisciplinary Perspective” was inspired by the United Nations General Assembly declaration of 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development. http://media.unwto.org/press-release/2015-12-07/united-nations-declares-2017-international-year-sustainable-tourism-develop

Thurlow reminded the group that tourism is “a great way for students to understand much bigger issues of global capitalism, issues of race and gender, and it is good to be reminded about the power and price of play.”

Using examples from Switzerland to India, he talked about the underlying class issue of tourism, from analysis of elite travel advertisements and labor practices in the hotel industry to the optics of detailed measurements for economy class leg space on an airplane.

Participants also engaged in discussion and exercises that examined global tourism and the tourism industry through the disciplinary perspectives of economics, communications, anthropology, environmental studies, business, geography, cultural studies, sociology, and other frameworks.

Other speakers included:

  • UW Professor Emeritus of History Jere L. Bacharach
  • Professor of Hospitality Management and Business at Highline College Chris Brandmeir
  • Director of Sales for MIR Corporation (a travel group) Joanna Millick
  • Professor of Environmental Science at Green River College Monica Paulson Priebe
  • Tara Sullivan, an award-winning author of novels that address human rights issues.
Group_CCMTI_web

Teachers at community colleges in four states toured the UW Suzzallo Library exhibit “Exploring Travel” as part of this year’s summer institute topic on global tourism and sustainability issues.

As part of the workshop, the group visited the exhibit “Exploring Travel: A Journey through the Libraries’ Collections on travel, journeys, geography and time” at UW Suzzallo Library.

While looking through the display case of books and maps on Arctic travel, Thurlow remarked on the luxury travel industry as one that encourages visits to places like the Arctic before they melt – and the impact of that promotion.

Said another participant from the Institute who saw materials and photographs about train travel: “That’s what I want my students to learn about travel: the impact on the environment such as the taking down of trees, and how tourism can be done responsibly.”

The Jackson School hosts the largest number of federally funded Title VI Centers in the United States.