Category Archives: Call for Papers

CfP AAG 2017

CfP Association of American Geographers

Boston 5th to 9th April 2017

The complex geographies of inequality in contemporary slum tourism

rocinha klein

The visitation of areas of urban poverty is a growing phenomenon in global tourism (Burgold & Rolfes, 2013; Dürr & Jaffe, 2012; Freire-Medeiros, 2013; Frenzel, Koens, Steinbrink, & Rogerson, 2015). While it can be considered a standard tourism practise in some destinations, it remains a deeply controversial form of tourism that is greeted with much suspicion and scepticism (Freire-Medeiros, 2009). In the emerging research field of slum tourism, the practices are no longer only seen as a specific niche of tourism, but as empirical phenomena that bridge a number of interdisciplinary concerns, ranging from international development, political activism, mobility studies to urban regeneration (Frenzel, 2016).


Slum tourism is sometimes cast as a laboratory where the relationships and interactions between the global North and South appear as micro-sociological encounters framed by the apparent concern over inequality. Beyond questioning the ways in which participants shape the encounters in slum tourism, structural implications and conditions come to the fore. Thus spatial inequality influences opportunities and hinders governance solutions to manage slum tourism operations (Koens and Thomas, 2016). Slum tourism is found to be embedded into post-colonial patterns of discourse, in which ‘North’ and ‘South’ are specifically reproduced in practices of ‘Othering’ (Steinbrink, 2012) . Evidence has been found for the use of slum tourism in urban development (Frenzel, 2014; Steinbrink, 2014) and more widely in the commodification of global care and humanitarian regimes (Becklake, 2014; Holst, 2015). Research has also pointed to the ethical implications of aestheticizing poverty in humanitarian aid performances and the troubles of on-the-ground political engagement in a seemingly post-ideological era (Holst 2016).


More recently a geographical shift has been observed regarding the occurrence of slum tourism. No longer a phenomenon restricted to the Global South, slum tourism now appears increasingly in the global North. Refugee camps such as Calais in the north of France have received high numbers of visitors who engage in charitable action and political interventions. Homeless tent cities have become the subject of a concerned tourist gaze in the several cities of the global north (Burgold, 2014). A broad range of stigmatised neighbourhoods in cities of the global North today show up on tourist maps as visitors venture to ‘off the beaten track’ areas. The resurfacing of slum tourism to the global North furthers reinforces the need to get a deeper, critical understanding of this global phenomena.


Mobility patterns of slum tourists also destabilise notions of what it means to be a tourist, as migrants from the Global North increasingly enter areas of urban poverty in the South beyond temporal leisurely visits, but as low level entry points into cities they intent to make their (temporal) home. Such new phenomena destabilise strict post-colonial framings of slum tourism, pointing to highly complex geographies of inequality.


In this session we aim to bring together research that casts the recent developments in slum tourism research. We aim specifically in advancing geographical research while retaining a broad interdisciplinary outlook.


Please sent your abstract or expressions of interest of now more than 300 words to Tore E.H.M Holst (tehh (at) and Thomas Frisch (Thomas.Frisch (at) by October 15th 2016




Becklake, S. (2014). NGOs and the making of “development tourism destinations.” Zeitschrift Für Tourismuswissenschaft, 6(2), 223–243.

Burgold, J. (2014). Slumming in the Global North. Zeitschrift Für Tourismuswissenschaft, 6(2), 273–280.

Burgold, J., & Rolfes, M. (2013). Of voyeuristic safari tours and responsible tourism with educational value: Observing moral communication in slum and township tourism in Cape Town and Mumbai. DIE ERDE – Journal of the Geographical Society of Berlin, 144(2), 161–174.

Dürr, E., & Jaffe, R. (2012). Theorizing Slum Tourism: Performing, Negotiating and Transforming Inequality. European Review of Latin American and Caribbean Studies Revista Europea de Estudios Latinoamericanos Y Del Caribe, 0(93), 113–123

Freire-Medeiros, B. (2009). The favela and its touristic transits. Geoforum, 40(4), 580–588.

Freire-Medeiros, B. (2013). Touring Poverty. New York N.Y.: Routledge.

Frenzel, F. (2014). Slum Tourism and Urban Regeneration: Touring Inner Johannesburg. Urban Forum, 25(4), 431–447.

Frenzel, F. (2016). Slumming it: the tourist valorization of urban poverty. London: Zed Books.

Frenzel, F., Koens, K., Steinbrink, M., & Rogerson, C. M. (2015). Slum Tourism State of the Art. Tourism Review International, 18(2), 237–252.

Holst, T. (2015). Touring the Demolished Slum? Slum Tourism in the Face of Delhi’s Gentrification. Tourism Review International, 18(4), 283–294.

Steinbrink, M. (2012). We did the slum! Reflections on Urban Poverty Tourism from a Historical Perspective. Tourism Geographies, 14(2), forthcoming.

Steinbrink, M. (2014). Festifavelisation: mega-events, slums and strategic city-staging – the example of Rio de Janeiro. DIE ERDE – Journal of the Geographical Society of Berlin, 144(2), 129–145.

From Stigma to Brand: Conference on Slum Tourism in 2017

From Stigma to Brand:
Commodifying and Aestheticizing Urban Poverty and Violence

Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Munich, February 16-18, 2017

Call for Papers


Prof. Dr. Eveline Dürr (LMU Munich, Germany)
Prof. Dr. Rivke Jaffe (University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands)
Prof. Dr. Gareth Jones (London School of Economics and Politics, UK)

This conference investigates the motives, processes and effects of the commodification and global representation of urban poverty and violence. Cities have often hidden from view those urban areas and populations stigmatized as poor, dirty and dangerous. However, a growing range of actors actively seek to highlight the existence and appeal of “ghettos”, “slums” and “no-go areas”, in attempts to attract visitors, investors, cultural producers, media and civil society organisations. In cities across the world, processes of place-making and place-marketing increasingly resignify urban poverty and violence to indicate authenticity and creativity. From “slum tourism” to “favela chic” parties and “ghetto fabulous” fashion, these economic and representational practices often approach urban deprivation as a viable brand rather than a mark of shame.

The conference explores how urban misery is transformed into a consumable product. It seeks to understand how the commodification and aestheticization of violent, impoverished urban spaces and their residents affects urban imaginaries, the built environment, local economies and social relations.

What are the consequences for cities and their residents when poverty and violence are turned into fashionable consumer experiences? How is urban space transformed by these processes and how are social relationships reconfigured in these encounters? Who actually benefits when social inequality becomes part of the city’s spatial perception and place promotion?
We welcome papers from a range of disciplinary perspectives including anthropology, geography, sociology, and urban studies.

Keynote speakers:

  • Lisa Ann Richey (Roskilde University)
  • Kevin Fox Gotham (Tulane University)

more to be confirmed.

• Please submit an abstract for a paper presentation including a title and your affiliation to:
Deadline for abstract submission is October 10, 2016
• Please note that limited financial support for registered PhD students is available. Please indicate in your abstract submission if you wish to apply.


Second Destination Slum Conference

CFP: Second Destination Slum Conference

New Development and Perspectives in Slum Tourism Research

14-16 May 2014, University of Potsdam, Germany

In December 2010 slum tourism researchers gathered in Bristol, UK, for the first international “Destination Slum” conference addressing specifically the aesthetic, economic, historical, political and social DSCN0772dimensions of slum tourism. Slum tourism, defined broadly as touristic visits to urban areas of relative poverty, remains a controversial pastime. Despite the controversies this leisure practice is on the rise globally, in developing as well as developed countries. New destinations are added to an already comprehensive list of locations while some older destinations shows signs of maturity and saturation with high levels of diversification, policy interventions, including the integration of slum tourism into urban regeneration and urban tourism strategies. Slum Tourism seems to have entered a new phase.

Just like the development of the phenomenon of slum tourism, academic research has picked up in speed as well, accounting for the phenomenon in a range of case studies from diverse disciplines. The foci of research have also shifted beyond the pertinent questions of ethics, impact and motivation, to address the multiple connections of slum tourism to other forms of tourism, like volunteering, sustainable tourism, community based and pro-poor-tourism or dark tourism and others. Moreover researchers have turned to discuss the possible contributions research on slum tourism can make to questions arising in the study of global phenomena and questions like mobilities, social movements and protest, urban regeneration, security, mega events or poverty alleviation.

Slum tourism research has reached a new phase  and the second conference of the network will enable an engaged exchange of the insights gained over the last few years. We aim to better understand the recent rapid expansion and diversification of slum tourism as well as to develop new perspectives on the phenomenon.

We‚d like to invite empirical and theoretical papers that discuss slum tourism and related phenomena in various destinations, comparative research focusing on different case studies as well as conceptual cognate questions such as, but not limited to

theoretical reflections on slum tourism
tourism and poverty alleviation
informal economies ˆ informal tourism
authenticity and valorisation regimes in slum tourism
slum tourism in urban policy
urban regeneration, gentrification and tourism
slum tourism and mega-events
(changing) moral and ethical views on slum tourism
security, slum and tourism
entrepreneurship in slum tourism
social functions/roles of slum tourism
justice tourism and solidarity travel
volunteer tourism and poverty
economies of charity and slum tourism
the migration/tourism nexus and the slum
identity, culture and slum tourism
literary slumming in writing, film and games
histories of slum tourism and slumming

Please submit your abstract of up to 300 words with affiliation and contact details using the submit abstract page on the conference webpage. All abstracts will be peer-reviewed by members of the conference committee and we will notify within four weeks of your submission. Accepted papers are to be considered for publication in a special issue of an academic journal (negotiations are underway).

UPDATED Deadline for abstract submissions: 1st of March 2014

Conference Webpage:
We are also happy to accept panel proposal via conference (at)

Conference Cost

The conference fee is 100 Euros (50 Euros for post-graduate and non-waged
researchers) and covers conference two lunches and two dinners, coffee and
refreshments as well as a side programme.

CALL FOR PAPERS: Commodifying Urban Poverty, Social Exclusion, and Marginalisation: Spatial and Social Consequences

The 17th World Congress of the International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences will host a session called: “Commodifying Urban Poverty, Social Exclusion, and Marginalisation: Spatial and Social Consequences”. The conference will be held in Manchester 5-10 August 2013, but the organisation is already asking for paper proposals (the deadline is 20 July 2011). This seems a good opportunity to present on slum and poverty tourism to a wider audience. More information can be found below:

CALL FOR PAPERS: Commodifying Urban Poverty, Social Exclusion, and Marginalisation: Spatial and Social Consequences

IUAES, Manchester 5-10 August 2013

Convenors: Eveline Dürr and Rivke Jaffe

This panel seeks to investigate the effects of increasing commodification and marketable global representations of the urban poor and their particular spaces. While many cities are eager to “clean” their central spaces and move pavement dwellers, beggars, street children and other “undesirable” citizens out in order to present a favourable image to visitors and potential investors, others draw attention to marginalisation, poverty and social exclusion and market no-go areas, gang life, drug districts, slums and other poverty-ridden urban areas as tourist destinations. While these socio-spaces were previously banned from the city’s representation, they are now tentatively included as integral parts of the urban environment. Increasingly, tourists seem to be keen to move into these spaces, yet in a controlled and safe way. The consequences of these quickly expanding, globally prevalent urban practices are manifold yet have hardly been investigated empirically, much less in a comparative perspective. This panel aims to examine the ways tourism intersects with spaces of urban misery and their representation. It seeks to understand how the commodification and increasing circulation of representations of the poor and their spaces affects city imaginaries, urban space, local economies and social relations. By emphasizing actors and socio-spatial dimensions, this panel includes a performative understanding of these practices and thus goes beyond the analysis of representation strategies. What are the consequences for cities and their dwellers when poverty and decay are turned into fashionable tourist experiences? How are cities transformed by these processes and how are social relationships reconfigured in these new spaces of encounter? Who actually benefits when social inequality becomes part of the city’s spatial perception and place promotion? Comparative and reflective empirical research contributes to the understanding and analysis of these fairly recent urban challenges. Papers addressing these aspects are welcome.

Please email your abstract (ca. 200 words) accompanied by information about the author (name, affiliation) to Eveline Dürr ( and Rivke Jaffe (

Deadline for paper proposals is 20 July 2011.

For more information about the IUAES conference see


Call for papers: London Debates 2011

As mentioned in the last post, the School of Advanced Study at the University of London organises an annual international debate for outstanding young researchers in the humanities and social sciences. The competition is open to scholars who are in their final-year of doctoral study or up to 10 years beyond the award of their doctorate. Selected applicants will be awarded bursaries to contribute to travel and accommodation costs.

This year’s theme is “Is there a future for human rights in a non-Western world?” and a call for papers is out with a final submission date of Monday 7 february 2011.

The subject certainly seems suitable for a number of scholars working on slum tourism and the possibilities of bursaries to contribute travel and accommodation costs may provide an opportunity for overseas scholars to come and share their work.