The University of Iowa

African Studies Program to host Oct 14 lecture on slum tourism

October 2nd, 2015

The African Studies Program (ASP) is hosting an upcoming baraza, or discussion, and lecture with UI professor Brian Ekdale on the emerging media genre of "slum tourism." 

The talk, titled, BARAZA: Ironic Encounters: Posthumanitarian Storytelling in Slum Tourist Media, will take place on Wednesday, October 14 from 11 a.m.-12:00 p.m. in 315 Phillips Hall. This event is free and open to the public.

"A distinct narrative genre is emerging in media about slum tourism, one in which Global North travelers construct a humanitarian Self through their firsthand engagement with suffering in the Global South," Ekdale says. In these stories, tourists present their travels as essential for understanding while depicting locals as the true beneficiaries. Ekdale's talk will discuss three high-profile texts produced by visitors of Kibera, a densely populated low-income community in Nairobi, Kenya. Embodying the "ironic encounter” genre, these three texts ultimately justify slum tourism as a humanitarian act.

Brian Ekdale is an assistant professor in the UI School of Journalism and Mass Communication with a research focus on digital content creation. In short, he’s interested in the structural, cultural, and individual factors that determine what appears on screen and online. He has used this lens to explore community video production in Nairobi’s slums, the motivations of American political bloggers, the social media tactics of Occupy Wall Street protestors, the uncertainly of contemporary journalism, and the glocalization of music videos in Kenya.

This event is sponsored by the African Studies Program (ASP) and International Programs. To learn more about upcoming ASP events, visit the ASP events page.

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa-sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires a reasonable accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact Jim Giblin in advance at or 319-335-2288.