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Scholars Day 2005, Wednesday, April 13

"Human Accumulations" Social Relations of Travel at Niagara Falls

H.G. Wells claimed that his real interest in Niagara Falls was the "human accumulations" that grew up around it. Niagara has figured prominently in the escalating research on the history of tourism, most of which focuses on when and how the middle classes went on holiday. This copious literature seldom acknowledges the complexity of social relations involved in travel. These accounts typically ignore the hotel and restaurant employees who made the middle-class experience possible. The leisure, travel and hedonism of the middle-classes was only made possible because of the labor provided by an army of workers. Archaeology at one of Niagara Fall's hotels provides a context to examine how Niagara was created by many different groups of people who traveled there from many different places with very different goals and aspirations. Thus, the "human accumulations" at Niagara can be seen as the physical manifestation of social relations of travel.

Presenter: Louann Wurst (Faculty)
Topic: Anthropology
Location: 121 Smith
Time: 9 am (Session I)