New Book examines Tourism and Sexuality in the Caribbean (October 25, 2015)

Angelique articleHow does tourism in the Caribbean affect the people who live there and engage with it daily? Fulbright Scholar and lecturer at the Institute of Gender and Development Studies, St. Augustine, Dr. Angelique V. Nixon examines this question in her new book, Resisting Paradise: Tourism, Diaspora, and Sexuality in Caribbean Culture, which will be launched on October 28 at the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine.
She said she was inspired to write the book because of her experiences growing up in the Bahamas. “You go to school and either you work in tourism or banking or for the Government, those were the options. When I was growing up I never saw the idea of becoming a writer or doing anything creative. That limits your sense of self. It’s been interesting living in T&T and experiencing the difference between Junkanoo and Carnival. Looking at these two festivals that are of African heritage with histories of resistance and revolt, and retention of storytelling and music and then to see those forms become caricatures and turn into a product is scary, but it happens all over. That was really what drove me to write the book, I wanted to comment on that. At first, it was about critiquing how horrible tourism is, but then I had to remember if you’re in it every day you have a different relationship with it.”
In the book, Angelique looks at how the Caribbean is portrayed as a Paradise for tourists, as being available, tropical, dangerous and blissful, not only by corporations outside the Caribbean, but also by the tourism entities within the region who perpetuate the myth.
Through a unique mixture of telling her story, analyzing cultural texts, interviews, case studies and participatory observation, Angelique writes about how Caribbean people navigate and negotiate the overwhelming industry of tourism. She looks not only at the stereotypical tourist but also those from the African Diaspora, people with Caribbean parentage who were born abroad, Caribbean migrants who return home and people who travel within the Caribbean.
She also examines the experiences of persons living in the Caribbean, how it affects their cultural, spiritual, environmental and social selves and the entire landscape as they attempt to navigate, negotiate and engage with tourism.
Angelique then investigates how writers, artists and activists counter that “powerful production of Paradise and give us alternative ways to think about travel.” She looks at the writings of Jamaica Kincaid, Edwidge Danticat, Paul Marshall, Audre Lorde, Marion Bethel, Erna Brodber, Michelle Cliff, Christian Campbell and Ooyna Kempadoo and how they relate to the Caribbean tourism and travel experience. “I look at how they critique the exploitation from the tourism industry and show how it’s very much another form of neo-colonialism, it’s exploitative consumption that comes out of those histories of slavery and colonialism and then I’m interested in how these very same people create new models of tourism, different ways for us to think about tourism, such as educo-tourism and art tourism. I also look at how sex, sexuality, sex tourism and sexual labour also impact the overall overarching way that Paradise is understood and the way that sex tourism is often hidden.”
“It is really important for me to get this book out because I grew up in a place so consumed by tourism and it’s not the only place, Jamaica, Barbados, Grenada, Aruba, Antigua, Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Mexico, Brazil, all of these places in the region are increasingly or completely reliant on tourism, because it’s become the model for development and a signal of progress. I wrote the book to be really accessible as much as you can with an academic work, as that’s part of my principle as a scholar.”
The book launch will take place at the Faculty of Science and Technology Board Room from 6:30 pm to 8 pm. The book sells for US$65/TT$420 on Amazon.com but limited discounted copies will be available for TT$300 at the launch.
More details can be found on Facebook at IGDS Book Launch – Resisting Paradise or by contacting the author at angeliquevnixon@gmail.com.

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