Thesis defense: 'The Cultural Commodification of Gender and Identity in Alaska Native Imagery by the Non-Native Tourism Industry,' May 3
by Michelle Saport |
Friday, May 3, 4-5:30 p.m. Beatrice McDonald Hall, Room 103
Robyn Miller will defend her thesis, "The Cultural Commodification of Gender and Identity in Alaska Native Imagery by the Non-Native Tourism Industry." The public is welcome to attend.
Abstract: Miller's thesis focuses on the ways in which the non-Alaska Native tourism industry "sells" Alaska Native culture to tourists. Images tourists see portray how non-Native companies sell, portray and depict Alaska Native identity, and thus form a critical area of discussion in cultural tourism research. Miller analyzed qualitative data via the Grounded Theory Approach and the Content Theory Approach in order to determine whether trends were evident in the ways in which Alaska Native women were portrayed to tourists. This analysis included self-administered questionnaires to tourists and a close reading of cover images in a popular Alaska-based magazine. Through this analysis, Miller hypothesizes that there are tendencies in the ways in which Alaska Native women (especially young girls) are depicted in tourism marketing. It also becomes evident that, despite an overall trend towards the promotion of Native and cultural tourism in tourism marketing, tourists generally exhibit a lack of understanding and comprehension about Alaska Native cultures.