Memorial sites, sites of dark tourism, are vernacular spaces that are continuously negotiated, constructed, and reconstructed into meaningful places. Using the locale of the 9/11 tragedy, Joy Sather-Wagstaff explores the constructive role played by tourists in understanding social, political, and emotional impacts of a violent event that has ramifications far beyond the local population. Through in-depth interviews, photographs, graffiti, even souvenirs, she compares the 9/11 memorial with other hurtful sites-the Oklahoma City National Memorial, Vietnam Veteran's Memorial, and others-to show how tourists construct and disperse kwledge through performative activities, which make painful places salient and meaningful both individually and collectively.
Joy Sather-Wagstaff is an assistant professor of anthropology at North Dakota State University. Her research focuses on tourists' experiences at memorial museums and commemorative landscapes, material, visual and intangible culture, memory, community history collection, vernacular photography, cultures of collecting, and disasters. Her publications include: Beyond Content: Thematic, Discourse-centred Qualitative Methods for Analysing Visual Data (forthcoming in 2010, in An Introduction to Visual Research Methods in Tourism); Folk Epigraphy as Intangible Heritage at the World Trade Center, Oklahoma City and Beyond (2009, in Intangible Heritage Embodied); Picturing Experience: A Tourist-centred Perspective on Commemorative Historical Sites. (2008, Tourist Studies: An International Journal).