On Thursday the 28th of May, our research team organized and presented a panel at the 2015 LASA conference. The panel, entitled ‘Slums on Show: Poverty and Violence as Spectacular Commodity’, explored the commodification and aestheticization of poverty and violence in Latin American and Caribbean cities, focusing on ‘slum tourism’. Barbara Vodopivec (Ludwig-Maximilians University), Alessandro Angelini (London School of Economics and Political Science) and Alana Osbourne (University of Amsterdam), were joined by Sarah Becklake (Lancaster University) and David Frohnapfel, who presented papers on tourism in Guatemala and Haiti respectively.
The session, organized by Gareth Jones (London School of Economics and Political Science) and Eveline Dürr (Ludwig-Maximilians University), provided an ethnographic perspective on so called ‘slums’ as spaces of encounter between residents, informal intermediaries and tourists, thereby linking international cultural producers and consumers of spaces of urban deprivation. The session raised questions concerning power and inequality, and specifically how the spatialization of class, gender, and race relations is being reshaped. Florence Babb (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill) author of The Tourism Encounter: Fashioning Latin American Nations and Histories (2011), was the discussant for the session, providing great feedback on the papers and opening the conversation to the floor, creating a stimulating exchange.