An Ethnography of Tourism and Globalization: In Conversation with Dr. Annie Hikido

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How do Black women entrepreneurs in South Africa play off westerners’ fear and desire for impoverished townships through home-based tourist accommodations? This episode’s guest is Dr. Annie Hikido, Assistant Professor of Sociology at Colby College. She tells us how her racialized experiences growing up as a Japanese-American woman in California pushed her to become an ethnographer and race scholar. She then describes the ethnographic experiences behind her wonderful new article in Qualitative Sociology, “Making South Africa Safe: The Gendered Production of Black Place on the Global Stage,” in which she stayed with Black women in marginalized South African townships who open their homes to mostly-white tourists. She explains both these women’s public-facing performances of themselves to their visitors, as well as the behind-the-scenes and community efforts that went into presenting the townships as a safe space. She then reflects on how the women and community members understood her as an Asian-American woman and researcher, before describing her ongoing relationships with the women and the current state of her research given the pandemic.

Alex Diamond is a Ph.D. candidate in sociology at the University of Texas, Austin. Sneha Annavarapu is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Chicago.

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