Ecotourism, Culture, and Communication
Abstract: Communication, culture, and ecology provide contexts for the rapidly growing practice of ecotourism. One way to begin to illustrate and critique the sustainable or restorative powers of ecotourism is to investigate the human discourses at play during ecotours and the cultural paradigms these discourses bring to light. Dr. Tema Milstein will discuss the ways culture and communication shape human relations with nature and the ways particular environmental relations are shaped in the settings of ecotourism. She will share examples from her current ethnographic study in New Zealand on wild dolphin swim tourism and her past ethnographic study on endangered orca tourism in North America. The hope for this seminar is to bring together colleagues and students interested in ecotourism, environmental relations, critical discourse studies, and/or ecocultural studies. The seminar is also a chance to introduce Tema to the AUT and NZTRI community and to find possibly fruitful collaborative connections for her among local researchers, teachers, and students before she returns to the United States.
Tema is a 2012 Fulbright US Senior Scholar hosted by NZTRI at AUT and is based here in New Zealand from December 2011 through June 2012. Having already completed her data collection in the South Island, Tema has recently moved up north to be closer to AUT. Tema teaches doctoral, masters, and undergraduate courses at the University of New Mexico on communication and culture, ecocultural/environmental communication, and critical cultural studies. She has published in leading journals and is on several journal editorial boards, including Environmental Communication: A Journal of Nature and Culture. Her primary research focus is on critical and interpretive inquiry into cultural perceptions, practices, and productions of nature. For links to her published research, please visit www.unm.edu/~tema
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