Deconstructing Grief Tourism


History & Philosophy

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The term grief tourism (also called dark tourism or Thanatourism) was coined in 1997 to describe the phenomenon of traveling to historic sites related to tragedy or disaster. This paper will examine and compare some of the most visited sites of such atrocities, including European concentration camps related to the Holocaust, Ground Zero in New York City, and the killing fields in Cambodia to examine the following questions: What motivates visitors to seek such sites? How is the past commemorated and presented at the sites? Finally, what do these sites reveal about the politics of public memory?