Dr. Christopher Dowd, Associate Professor & Chair English and Dr. Jeffrey Debies-Carl, Associate Professor Sociology
"Winter is Coming to Ireland: Game of Thrones and the Reimagining of Irish Tourism"
Thursday, March 23, 2017 at 2:00 p.m. Library, Upper Level
A recent boom in tourism in Northern Ireland has been the result of invitations (as one tourism site puts it) “to Journey to the Heart of Westeros.” Westeros is, of course, the fictional world depicted in HBO’s Game of Thrones, which films in and around Belfast. Many fans of Game of Thrones have accepted the invitation and have traveled to Westeros via a coach tour. They have travelled the Kings Road, stood beneath the towers of Winterfell, gazed across the Blackwater, solemnly walked across the battlefield near Riverrun, and even journeyed to Castle Black at the base of the Wall.
This presentation considers how tourists are physically traveling to Ireland as a means of imaginatively traveling to a fantasy world. Ireland has served as a fantastical imaginative space in literature and art before, but here is an example of that imaginative fantasy version of Ireland intersecting with the real world—including the Irish economy and government--in a more tangible way than has ever happened before.
Dr. Christopher Dowd is Associate Professor and Chair of the English Department at the University of New Haven. He specializes in Irish-American literature and culture and is the author of The Construction of Irish Identity in American Literature, published by Routledge in 2011 and The Irish and the Origins of American Popular Culture, forthcoming also from Routledge.
Dr. Jeffrey Debies-Carl is Associate Professor of Sociology in the Department of Psychology at the University of New Haven. His research examines the social significance of physical and cultural environments, travel, and tourism. His work has appeared in a number of scholarly journals, such as Social Psychology Quarterly and the Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, and he is the author of Punk Rock and the Politics of Place (Routledge, 2014).?
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