Discussing the Class Intro Photographs

During our cafe discussion, we found ourselves interested in the powerpoint photographs and one in particular sparked our interest. Aside from the Marx readings which we found quite difficult, we were intrigued by the meaning of the photo of the hunters with a human as their kill trophy. One of the biggest theoretical influences for cultural studies centers on history, more specifically colonialism, which persisted into the 20th century.

The hunters are gathered around a human being in a traditional black and white style photography, typical of the times. The three men standing have different garb; the one in the middle wearing a safari hat and what appears to be a British style suit, perhaps could be deemed the ‘Colonialist.’ The two dark skinned men on either side are most likely hunting guides, touting guns and wearing more informal clothing and head wraps. This photograph is not only commenting on the tourism that followed with colonialism, but the social structure where white colonialists viewed the colonies as exotic regions where resources could be extracted and benefits taken advantage of. The white man holds his prize kill and adventure in memory, but in reality he is participating in the killing of culture and wildlife without any repercussions. The photo critiques the idea that tourism is a positive element, stating that tourism can actually begin to degrade local culture and damage communities.

We thought this was an appropriate start to our cafe discussion, especially because it incorporates several elements of social structures and theoretical values that we will be discussing in class, or at least will influence the topics we learn about. “Killing tigers kills tourism,” is such an interesting slogan because it seems on the surface to be against hunting exotic animals, but on a deeper level, it comments on a cultural awareness, implying that without an exotic image (the tiger) white tourists will not visit former colonies because they would have no reason or incentives. Really interesting statement on power structures and attitudes. We would like to know when this add was produced?? Especially with the ‘Sanctuary’ statement, is this from a tourist agency, the government, or an advocate group?

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