Title

Visitors’ Experiences and Reactions to a Dark Heritage Site: The Case of the Cape Coast Castle (2010–2015)

Department

Sociology and Criminal Justice

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

1-1-2019

Abstract

This study investigates how different visitors experienced a dark heritage site (Cape Coast Slave Castle). Two main groups of people studied are those with historic links to the site and those without. Those with historic links include descendants of victims of the slave trade, people from countries, which participated in that dark heritage, and those whose ancestors may have collaborated. This study of 3,452 comments using directed content analysis found that recognition of the darkness of the heritage is universal, but experiences of the darkness are diverse. The different experiences highlight the complexity of reactions to, as well as contested meanings of, slavery and its enduring effects. The study also shows that the sense of "ownership" of the site is not defined by citizenship in the country of its location. One implication of this is that Cape Coast Slave Castle curators have a responsibility that goes beyond Ghana’s borders.

Journal

Visitor Studies

Journal ISSN

1064-5578,1934-7715

Volume

22

Issue

1

First Page

104

Last Page

125

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

10.1080/10645578.2019.1603748

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