The Southwest has long been one of America's dreamscapes, a place we go to relive and reinvent our past for the purposes of the present. Yet the Southwest is a real place, too, one where people live and make a living. This collection of essays looks at the ways tourism affects people and places in the Southwest and at the region's meaning on the larger stage of national life.
In the first section, "Configuring Ethnicity: The Meaning of Who You Are," Chris Wilson, Phoebe Kropp, and Rena Swentzell explicate tourist sites in Albuquerque, California's Camino Real, and Taos. Essays on "Collecting and Belonging" include discussions of scrapbooks, souvenirs, and virtual tourism on the Internet by Marguerite Shaffer, Leah Dilworth, and Erika Bsumek. The third section, "The Practice of Tourism," offers the perspectives of William L. Bryan, Jr., a leading ecotourism operator, and Susan Guyette and David White, who argue for the autonomy of native people in presenting their experience to visitors. The final section looks at how places are transformed by tourism. Sylvia Rodriguez examines the power dynamics of tourism, Char Miller chronicles the way San Antonio has become a colonial town, and volume editor Hal Rothman presents Las Vegas as a place where authenticity and inauthenticity are purposefully indistinguishable.
Hal K. Rothman (1958-2007) was professor of history, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and a leading historian of the American West.
The Clements Center for Southwest Studies at Southern Methodist University