Universität Wien FIND

240519 SE Identity Sell Out? (P4) (2019W)

Ambivalent and Counter-Intuitive Readings of Cultural Villages and Cultural Museums in Africa and Beyond

Continuous assessment of course work

Participation at first session is obligatory!


Note: The time of your registration within the registration period has no effect on the allocation of places (no first come, first served).


max. 25 participants
Language: English


Classes (iCal) - next class is marked with N

Tuesday 15.10. 15:00 - 18:15 Hörsaal A, NIG 4.Stock
Monday 16.12. 16:45 - 18:15 Hörsaal A, NIG 4.Stock
Thursday 16.01. 09:45 - 16:30 Seminarraum A, NIG 4. Stock
Friday 17.01. 11:30 - 20:00 Seminarraum A, NIG 4. Stock


Aims, contents and method of the course

Ecotourism promises performances of ancient cultures in close encounters with primordial "Wild Africa". Indigenous cultures are currently as much on sale as trademarked wilderness reserves. This phenomenon has come under a growing critique pertaining to its "neoliberal commodification". The Seminar aims to debate the critical literature on Ethnicity Inc. with a special focus on inhabitants of African borderlands. Their potential empowerment provides the background for empirical studies. One of the most important concerns is clearly the inclusion and adequate participation of local communities and indigenous peoples. The Seminar seeks to explore novel forms of inclusive conservation in (trans-)frontier zones. It questions sustainable development and environmental protection in parallel, with a vision that they may not necessarily fucntion as "natural enemies".
Against commonsensical readings of the Seminar seeks to revive open-ended positions of counterintuition. This may be framed as a key quality of social science, which somewhat sank into oblivion. At least in relation to research on the "neoliberal sellout" of nature and culture. Commonsensical readings of Ethnicity Inc. encouters have been interpreted as exploitative, unsustainable and even racist i.e. "bewildering". The Seminar, in contrast, explores, if such blanket judgements often tend to miss the (stand-) point of local communities in African borderlands. Thus, the papers and presented films focus on their voices and reflections on the sale of nature and culture in so-called ecotourism and ethno-tourism.

Assessment and permitted materials

Active Participation in discussions and Seminar-Paper of 12 pages including literature.

Minimum requirements and assessment criteria

Physical Presence in classes, active participation 30 %
Paper 70 %

Both need to be within ratings 1-4

The lecturer can invite students to a grade-relevant discussion about partial achievements. Partial achievements that are obtained by fraud or plagiarized result in the non-evaluation of the course (entry 'X' in certificate). From winter term 2019/20 the plagiarism software 'Turnitin' will be used for courses with continuous assessment.

Examination topics

Content of Seminar

Reading list

Comaroff, John L./ Comaroff, Jean (2009): Ethnicity, Inc. Chicago/ London: University of Chicago Press.

Ritterband, Salomé (2018): Tracking Indigenous Heritage. Ju/’hoansi San Learning, Interpreting, and Staging Tradition for a Sustainable Future in Cultural Tourism in the Tsumkwe District of Namibia. Berlin/ Vienna: LIT.
Erwin Schweitzer: The Making of Griqua, Inc. Indigenous Struggles for Land and Autonomy in South Africa. Berlin and Vienna: LIT.

Werner Zips and Manuela Zips-Mairitsch (eds.): Bewildering Borders. The Economy of Conservation in Africa (Lit 2019)
And literature cited in "Bewildering Borders"

Association in the course directory

Last modified: Mo 07.09.2020 15:21