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Caribbean Journal of Education

The Reluctant Tourist: Reflections on Cultural Colonialism (In Reverse?)

Publication Date: 
September 2013

The Western tourist in the Caribbean is unavoidably in a position of in-authenticity and naïve but guilty spectatorship—always already on the outside; always ready with a camera—to take /capture/shoot static moments of picturesque in-significance. “Here’s one of me in front of the hotel…on the beach…outside the Independence Monument…” The relation of the ‘tourist’ to the place visited is by its very nature one of impermanence, of temporary, fleeting and superficial pleasure—of escape from the ‘real world’. This paper reflects something of a journey: a journey in which this writer was taken to a place in which I have met and continue to meet and listen to a number of Caribbean poets, creative critics, artists and educators—both on the page and off. A journey in which I find I am alternately fellow traveller, visitor, itinerant scholar, ‘would-be-immigrant-in-reverse’—and as Kincaid would have it, that most alien and alienated of beings: tourist.

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