Rethinking slavery heritage tourism

Aaron Yankholmes*, Bob McKercher

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


This paper argues that the investigation of slavery heritage within a ‘thana’- or ‘dark’ tourism framework invariably fails to appreciate the subtleties, power relationships and various contestations that are at play in both the presentation and consumption of former Transatlantic Slave Trade (TAST) sites. Instead, the authors argue that a combination of Halbwachs’ collective memory theory and Tunbridge and Ashworth’s concept of dissonant heritage can provide a deeper understanding of tourism linked to such sites. A study of TAST sites in Ghana identified six key groups of stakeholders involved in the interpretation of slavery heritage, each with its own agenda, desire to remember or forget slave memories and desire to compose different narratives. By analysing collective slave memories, the study proposes a framework that demonstrates that tourism to TAST-related sites is complex and nuanced because it relates to the nature of the historic event itself, intrinsic qualities of TAST-related sites in terms of current relevance and the closeness of the event or site to each stakeholder.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)233-247
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Heritage Tourism
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Collective memory
  • Collective slave memory
  • Dark tourism
  • Dissonant heritage
  • Slavery heritage tourism


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