American Studies
American Studies

Selling the Southwest: Tourism and Trade in the American Southwest, 1868-1940

Lecture by Dr. Erika Bsumek, Associate Professor of History

Thu, November 19, 2009 | Salon B of the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center, at 1900 University Avenue

8:00 PM

The lecture explores the connections between the marketing of the Southwest's distinctive regional characteristics and populations and the rise of the nascent tourism and travel industry in the early 1900s. As the Fred Harvey Company emerged as a leader in the hotel business, Harvey sought not just to attract increasingly large numbers of tourists but he also wanted to provide them with souvenirs to help remember their journey. As a result, he turned to local indigenous producers. As Anglo tourists discovered Indian-made crafts, their opinions about Indians shifted. As artists, Indians were not "savages" but rather "primitives."  Beyond changing representations, tourism transformed the material conditions of day to day life on Indian reservations. Bsumek's talk will chronicle how the of the tourist industry influenced what it meant for something to be called "Indian-made" --  and how such meanings changed the lives of Navajo weavers and silversmiths.

Dr. Bsumek is the author of "Indian-Made: Navajo Culture in the Marketplace, 1868-1940" (Kansas, 2008) and is currently at work on an environmental history of the American West titled "The Concrete West: Engineering Society and Culture in the Arid West."

Please RSVP by Wedneday, November 18: Courtney Meador,, 471-5491

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