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Going Places: Recent Histories of European Tourism


Writing in 1997, Britain's leading historian of tourism John K. Walton lamented that ‘tourism has not been accepted into the charmed circle of acceptable themes in European history’. While it would be premature to suggest that tourism has now been welcomed into this select inner circle on equal terms with more traditional fields of research, there is nevertheless much for historians of tourism to be positive about. Over the course of the last two decades, a growing body of scholarship has demonstrated not only that tourism needs to be taken seriously as a factor that shaped the modern world but also that the study of tourist practices has the potential to shed new light on seemingly familiar historical issues and debates. The complex range of factors that have enabled and hindered tourism's rise towards respectability within historical studies have been discussed in detail elsewhere by prominent exponents of the genre and will not be reiterated here. However, three flourishing and interconnected fields of historical inquiry, to which historians of tourism are making valuable contributions, deserve particular mention. Each of the works discussed below can be situated broadly within these three historiographical trends.

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John K. Walton , ‘Taking the History of Tourism Seriously’, European History Quarterly, 27 (1997), 573

Kristin Semmens , Seeing Hitler's Germany: Tourism in the Third Reich (New York, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005)

Sasha D. Pack , Tourism and Dictatorship: Europe's Peaceful Invasion of Franco's Spain (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006)

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Contemporary European History
  • ISSN: 0960-7773
  • EISSN: 1469-2171
  • URL: /core/journals/contemporary-european-history
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