Oct. 13: Ethics and Dark Histories

This week we will continue to work on our walking tour of London’s dark history, and explore how other public historians have worked with difficult, controversial, or violent pasts.

For an academic introduction to the idea of dark history tourism and the moral and intellectual questions surrounding it, see:  Richard Sharpley, “Shedding Light on Dark Tourism: An Introduction,” in Richard Sharpley and Philip R. Stone eds. The Darker Side of Travel: The Theory and Practice of Dark Tourism (Bristol, UK: Channel View Publications, 2009), 3-22. (Link through Owl).

Monica Eileen Patterson,  “Teaching Tolerance through Objects of Hatred: The Jim Crow
Museum of Racist Memorabilia as ‘Counter-Museum,'” in Erica Lehrer, Cynthia E. Milton, and Monica Eileen Patterson, Curating Difficult Knowledge: Violent Pasts in Public Places (New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2011), 55-71. (Link through Owl site).

“Follow the North Star” in an interesting approach to teaching the history of slavery at Conner Prairie Interactive History Park, in Fishers, Indiana.

The Jack the Ripper Museum controversy. Originally pitched as a museum to commemorate women in the East End of London, England, the institution came under fire for an apparent bait and switch, and the glorification of violence against women. There were numerous calls for the museum to be closed down. The museum also ran a Halloween event last year which sparked further protests.

In response the controversy, a group is pushing to create an East End Women’s Museum, and suggest deeper implications of Jack the Ripper tourism.

An opinion piece from Robert Reid, at National Geographic, “Is ‘Dark Tourism’ OK?” (2016).