Looking for something real: Affective encounters

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10 Scopus citations


This paper recounts a “Roots” tour of Ghana that took place in 2014. Roots tours are African tours specifically marketed toward African-American travelers. Tours include stops associated with the trans-Atlantic slave trade as well as sites of a more general cultural interest. The paper focuses on the encounters of tourists with Ghana. Specifically, this study uses Benjamin's concept of auras of authenticity to demonstrate that the authentic and affective are inextricably coupled and that both perform as essential constituents in place and memory making. This work relies on readings and interpretations of travelers' aspects (emotional expressions) as well as their sentiments as expressed in their speech and their writings. These manifestations of affect are captured through participant observation, interviews, photographs, and autoethnography. The findings of this study suggest that experiences of authenticity along with affective materials and landscapes work to bind memory to moment and place.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)200-213
Number of pages14
JournalAnnals of Tourism Research
StatePublished - May 2019


  • Affect
  • Authenticity
  • Black geographies
  • Diaspora
  • Ghana
  • Tourism


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