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Encountering Engineered and Orchestrated Remembrance: A Situational Model of Dark Tourism and Its History

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The Palgrave Handbook of Dark Tourism Studies

Abstract

Is a history of dark tourism possible? This may seem an odd question to pose in the historical section of a substantial handbook. However, over the 20 years during which dark tourism has been explored academically, a recurrent problematic has been debate about what it is; therefore, a discussion of its meaning is unavoidable because it affects where its history is deemed to start. This introductory chapter examines some of the issues about dark tourism’s origins and beginnings—a distinction discussed later—as a preface to the conceptual position reflected in the content of the chapters on its history that follow.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    ‘Thanatourism’ was an alternative term coined at the same time as ‘dark tourism’. Their referents are identical, but the connotations of the two terms are different and are briefly discussed later in this chapter.

  2. 2.

    They did so in conversations with the author and Dr Philip Stone at the launch of the Institute for Dark Tourism Research (iDTR) at the University of Central Lancashire, UK, in 2013.

  3. 3.

    Ex votos were offerings, left at shrines to saints and other divine figure in fulfilment of vows, or as reflections of homage and gratitude to them. Relics were objects associated with holy figures and events including body parts (bones, strands of hair, etc.); pieces of clothing; fragments of the ‘true cross’ on which Christ was said to have died. Relics survive in modern museology as sacralised exhibits supporting biographical remembrance (e.g., the desks at which writers wrote, the first guitar rock artists owned). They may even be the basis for whole exhibitions (e.g., displays of Lady Diana’s clothes, or the manuscripts of famous authors).

  4. 4.

    The most explicit articulation of antiquarianism as the pursuit of ‘inheritance’ (today’s ‘heritage’) comes from John Weever’s, never-completed, epic attempt to survey all the extant, ancient funeral monuments in Britain and Ireland, the aim of which was ‘to continue the remembrance of the defunct to posteritie (1631)’. It describes how, ‘with painfulle expences’ he ‘travailled over the most parts of England, and some part of Scotland’ to ‘collect such memorials of the deceased, as were remaining yet undefaced’. It began with a ‘Discourse of Funerall Monuments’ and was followed by a survey of Canterbury, London, and Norwich (Weever 1631, ‘Author to reader’ no page reference). Only the first volume was published.

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Seaton, T. (2018). Encountering Engineered and Orchestrated Remembrance: A Situational Model of Dark Tourism and Its History. In: R. Stone, P., Hartmann, R., Seaton, T., Sharpley, R., White, L. (eds) The Palgrave Handbook of Dark Tourism Studies. Palgrave Macmillan, London. https://doi.org/10.1057/978-1-137-47566-4_1

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1057/978-1-137-47566-4_1

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