I am very pleased to announce the publication of “A Canterbury tale: imaginative genealogies and existential heritage tourism at the St. Lawrence Ground” in the Journal of Heritage Tourism. This article is part of the journal’s special “sport, heritage, and tourism” issue that will be released in its entirety this autumn. A limited number of e-copies of the article are available here.
From the abstract:
At its most innate, heritage is biological, and perceptions of our own origins can drive many heritage journeys. However, like many heritage excursions, genealogical travel can also fuse objective fact with imagination in the search for meaning and identity. This paper explores a genealogical journey to a cricket ground in Kent, where the search for a family member’s past seamlessly merged with broader heritage constructions. Through this journey, it was found that heritage could be seen as a series of dualities; a mixture of collective and individual, objective and imaginative, tangible and existential. Further, it considers that heritage sport tourism – a topic broadly concerned with extrinsic, tangible heritage such as sport sites, sports museums, and sporting artefacts, can also be viewed through a more existential lens.
This paper was a bit of a new direction for me for a few reasons. Firstly, I used an autoethnographic approach, which I have never employed before. In fact, I didn’t intend for this paper to be an autoethnography, but it ended up almost having to be – I honestly couldn’t have written it without being self-reflexive. Secondly, despite my broad interest in heritage studies, I’ve never been that interested in my own personal heritage. So, the fact that my maternal grandfather (pictured above, on far right), a man I never met but to whom I feel strongly connected, played a central role in my research was new to me. Finally, this was my first cricket-based paper, which made writing it quite fun.
Ultimately this research is about larger issues in heritage studies, heritage tourism, and sport heritage, such as the interplay between personal and collective narratives, the multiple meanings of authenticity, and so on. However, the fact that it involves cricket, England, and imagined conversations with my grandfather makes it very special to me. I hope you enjoy.