This article engages the scholarly discussion of the booming heritage tourism industry in Ghana to explore the dynamics and politics of historical and contemporary African-diasporic interactions and provoke a critical revision of diaspora theory. I argue that Ghanaian-diaspora interactions in Ghana occur within a broader sociopolitical and cultural terrain that is not limited to heritage tourism. This terrain is configured through Ghana's own historical trajectory and narratives around slavery and race which, in turn, are informed and renegotiated by the country's relationship with diaspora history and community over time. Black diaspora and other African visitors, expatriates, and professionals converge in Ghana's cosmopolitan centers and confront a local landscape that is at once familiar and jarring because it has distinct and similar articulations of race and Blackness. My argument forces an explicit recognition of local processes of racialization in Ghana and calls for an approach to Ghanaian-diasporic interactions that juxtaposes Ghanaian racial subjectivity to that of diaspora bBlacks. By framing the heritage tourism discussion in this way, I hope to demonstrate that, contrary to conventional treatment of Africa within diaspora theory, transnational interactions between Africa and its diaspora are both historical and contemporary and, more importantly, are marked by the integument of race.
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Jemima Pierre; Beyond Heritage Tourism: Race and the Politics of African-Diasporic Interactions. Social Text 1 March 2009; 27 (1 (98)): 59–81. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/01642472-2008-017
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