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Nina Ergin critical reviews of books, exhibitions, and projects in all areas and periods of art history and visual studies published by the College Art Association February 6, Tom Edensor Tourists at the Taj: Performance and Meaning edensor full pdf password a Symbolic Site Routledge, Tourism, Art and Place New York: The New Press, edensor full pdf password, the intersection between the academic discipline of art history and the study of tourism has received increased attention from art historians and art critics.

Defamiliarizing the Mundane Roadscape - Tim Edensor,

One of the roles of art history within the cultural practice of tourism is, edensor full pdf password example, to establish and authenticate a canon of monuments that serves as a resource for tourism as well as to provide the etiquette of behavior that includes gazing and photographing.

In the view of this, it is regrettable that the majority of art historians concentrate on the past and seem to forget that the study of monuments can go beyond their historical original context.

A work that can serve as an excellent springboard for considering touristic practice around historical sites is Tourists at the Taj by the British Cultural Studies lecturer Tim Edensor. Drawing from hundreds of interviews with foreign and domestic tourists and from his observation of tourist behavior, Edensor analyzes the relationship between visitors and the Taj Mahal as a symbolic site.

Meaning is constructed by edensor full pdf password visitors according to whether they come as Muslim pilgrims with the Taj as their final destination, perform as dutiful, camera-toting tourists, or whether they are Hindu pilgrims, who drop by at the Taj on their way to another sacred site.

In the Introduction, Edensor establishes three points that run as a thread through his entire book.

First, tourist spaces are constructed in a way that political, spiritual, cultural or national identities can be imagined and expressed. Second, tourist sites are embedded in imagined geographies of a global scale.

And third, touristic practices of edensor full pdf password and walking can be described by the metaphor of performance, with the stage defined as the performative space in which the tourists move.


An important point Edensor that considers in this context is the emphasis on visual representation, at the expense of tactile or olfactory representations.

Another section deals with different spatial networks that can constitute the frame within which tourists see the site colonial, sacred, or national space. Tourist performances, of course, vary with the respective spaces in edensor full pdf password they are staged.

Colonial narratives that are carried forth by the neo-colonial practice of tourism see the Taj Mahal as the most romantic building in an India that is framed as exotic and Oriental.

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As such, the Taj has edensor full pdf password an institutionalized part of every India trip. Nationalist narratives can be divided into secular and Hindu fundamentalist: Here communalism rears its ugly head.

Muslim narratives revolve around the Taj Mahal as a pilgrimage site, as the main place of worship for the local Muslims, or as a symbol for the loss of Muslim power since the demise of the Mughals. Other narratives include that of economic significance for the locals, of power, of aesthetics, and of the Taj as a signifier of ideal love the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan is said to have built this enormous tomb for his beloved wife who died giving birth to their thirteenth child.

In fact, sites not frequented by tourists often carry multiple meanings: Chapter 4 analyzes different touristic practices, such as walking, gazing, taking photographs, and buying souvenirs edensor full pdf password telling stories for remembrance.

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Again, the sections on gazing and photographing are of particular relevance to the art historian, since they also constitute part of the professional practice of academic art history. Interesting, but only briefly mentioned, is the contestation between the development planners and the Archeological Survey of India who have entirely different goals in their dealing with the Taj Mahal and the surrounding city of Agra.

Edensor full pdf password, his theoretical framework is strongly built around binaries enclavic vs. Not everyone is either a package tourist or a backpacker.

Tim Edensor | Manchester Metropolitan University -

Where, for example, would an art historian visiting the site for personal enjoyment fit in? Second, Edensor does not make clear what his personal relationship to the Taj or to India at large edensor full pdf password. He does not acknowledge that he is a researcher from the country that formerly colonized India and that this fact could have affected his relationship to his Indian interviewees in particular.