Title: Shedding light on a dark past: representations of slavery at UK heritage tourism sites

Authors: Erik Amundson; Alptekin Kavi; Andrea Fairchok

Addresses: Department of Political Science, International Development and International Affairs, The University of Southern Mississippi, 730 East Beach Boulevard, Long Beach, MS 39560, USA ' Department of Political Science, International Development and International Affairs, The University of Southern Mississippi, 730 East Beach Boulevard, Long Beach, MS 39560, USA ' Department of Political Science, International Development and International Affairs, The University of Southern Mississippi, 730 East Beach Boulevard, Long Beach, MS 39560, USA

Abstract: Prior research has pointed out that plantation-related heritage tourism sites have not adequately represented historical connections to slavery, often using strategies to downplay or hide this part of their history. However few studies evaluate how the memories of enslavement are constructed and presented in locations where large numbers of slave trade voyages embarked. Accordingly, this study examines the representations of slavery at historical tourist destinations in three UK port cities with strong connections to the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Using a textual analysis of ten data sources, including seven publications and three museum websites, the researchers explore the key conceptual themes that are incorporated into the tourism narratives. By establishing recording units to code and categorise the data content, the research team identified five key mutually exclusive and exhaustive categories that frequently arose within the context of slavery. While the theme of the trans-Atlantic slave trade had the highest relative frequency, the data sources used for this study show there is still ambiguity surrounding memories of slavery and its connection to British wealth and prosperity.

Keywords: heritage tourism; heritage sites; hidden history; slavery; trans-Atlantic slave trade; textual analysis; UK; cultural heritage; United Kingdom; enslavement memories; tourist destinations; port cities.

DOI: 10.1504/IJTA.2016.081776

International Journal of Tourism Anthropology, 2016 Vol.5 No.3/4, pp.254 - 269

Available online: 20 Jan 2017 *

Full-text access for editors Access for subscribers Purchase this article Comment on this article