Dark Tourism in the American West

  • Jennifer Dawes

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xi
  2. Massacre Sites

  3. Sites of Imprisonment

  4. Natural/Ecological Disasters

  5. Unmediated Sites

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 179-179
    2. Jennifer Dawes, Andrew Spencer, John Streamas, Capper Nichols, Maria Cecilia Azar
      Pages 203-210
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 211-214

About this book


This edited collection expands scholarly and popular conversations about dark tourism in the American West. The phenomenon of dark tourism—traveling to sites of death, suffering, and disaster for entertainment or educational purposes—has been described and, on occasion, criticized for transforming misfortune and catastrophe into commodity. The impulse, however, continues, particularly in the American West: a liminal and contested space that resonates with stories of tragedy, violent conflict, and disaster. Contributions here specifically examine the mediation and shaping of these spaces into touristic destinations. The essays examine Western sites of massacre and battle (such as Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site and the “Waco Siege”), sites of imprisonment (such as Japanese-American internment camps and Alcatraz Island), areas devastated by ecological disaster (such as Martin’s Cove and the Salton Sea), and unmediated sites (those sites left to the touristic imagination, with no interpretation of what occurred there, such as the Bennet-Arcane camp).


thanatourism tragedy heritage interpretation tourism studies tourist sites dark tourism American West Colorado California Arizona Waco Japanese-American internment natural disasters

Editors and affiliations

  • Jennifer Dawes
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of English, Humanities, and PhilosophyMidwestern State UniversityWichita FallsUSA

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, Cham
  • eBook Packages Social Sciences Social Sciences (R0)
  • Print ISBN 978-3-030-21189-9
  • Online ISBN 978-3-030-21190-5
  • Buy this book on publisher's site