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Palgrave Macmillan

International Volunteer Tourism

Critical Reflections on Good Works in Central America

ISBN 9781137369338
Publication Date December 2013
Formats Hardcover Ebook (EPUB) Ebook (PDF) Paperback 
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan

Designed to promote reflection and better practices among the prospective volunteers and organizers of travel-for-service experiences, International Volunteer Tourism provides a collection of narratives on short-term international volunteering in Central America written by North American organizers, student participants, and Central American partners. The authors explore lessons learned from specific international service interventions in Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Honduras, with some attention to Costa Rica and Guatemala. The collection provides a nuanced, contextualized, historically evolving portrait of the increasingly popular practice of "voluntourism" with an eye toward pushing that practice toward meaningful social change.

Katherine Borland is Associate Professor of Folklore in the Comparative Studies Department at The Ohio State University, USA. Formerly Assistant Dean of the Newark Campus responsible for developing Service Learning, Civic Engagement, Study Abroad, and Honors programs, she is a strong advocate of responsible, facilitated experiences that promote global awareness and cosmopolitan citizenship.

Abigail E. Adams is Professor of Anthropology at Central Connecticut State University, USA. She has led many study abroad and service learning trips in Central America. She has published previously on US military short-term medical missions in Central America as well as on US evangelical Christian church-building and other short-term missions.

1. Introduction; Abigail E. Adams and Katherine Borland
2. A Brief Social History of Humanitarian Engagement; Katherine Borland
3. Priest in the Revolution; Fernando Cardenal, translated by Abigail E. Adams
El Salvador
4. Reciprocity and the Fabric of Solidarity: Central Americans, Refugees, and Delegations in the 1980s; William Westerman
5. Untellable Stories and the Limits of Solidarity in a Sister Community Relationship; Ellen Moodie
6. Who is a Global Citizen: Manifestations of Theory in Practice; Katherine Daly
7. What We Are About to Do Is Highly Problematic: The Unpaved Road From Service Trips to Educational Delegations; Irene King
8. From Skeptic to Convert, from (short-term) Service to (long-term) Witness: Towards Pedagogies of Witnessing on International Service Trips; Eric Martin Usner
9. The Learning of International Service Learning: Student Reflections Several Years Out; Alycia Buenger, Meghan Hensley, Nicole Klimas, and Liza Marks
10. In Search of Sustainable Community Development through Practice: A Sustainable Potable Water Project in Colinas de Suiza, Honduras; David R. Muñoz
11. International Students and Volunteers Amidst Rising Violence: the Challenges from Honduras; Katherine Borland interviews Jeff Boyer
Limiting Structures
12. The Pilgrimage Transformed: How to 'Break the Bracket' of U.S. Volunteer Tourism in Central America; Abigail E. Adams
13. International Service Learning: Fostering International Cooperation/Avoiding International Dominance; Steven G. Jones
15. Conclusion; Katherine Borland and Abigail Adams

Katherine Borland
Father Fernando Cardenal
William Westerman
Ellen Moodie
Katherine Daly
Irene King
Eric Martin Usner
David Muñoz
Abigail E. Adams
Steven Jones


"This book offers comprehensive and thought-provoking perspectives on experiential learning and service abroad. It will undoubtedly be a useful resource for student, faculty, and staff reflection exercises. Much of the richness of this book lies in the authors' willingness to question their own approaches to and experiences with service learning abroad, and to encourage greater thoughtfulness and sensitivity as part of the pedagogy of service learning in developing countries." - Terry-Ann Jones, Associate Professor and Director of International Studies, Fairfield University, USA
"Bracingly, piercingly critical, this collection not only reveals the dilemmas of voluntourism, but with measured insight it also suggests ethical ways to move forward. This collection will be indispensable for study abroad planners, tour leaders, scholars, and students who want to deepen the integrity and impact of their cross-cultural work." - Rory Turner, Assistant Professor of Anthropology and founder, Master of Arts in Cultural Sustainability Program, Goucher College, USA
"As international volunteering and service-learning projects have proliferated in recent years, so has the urgent need for serious, critical analysis of their nature and impact. This tightly-organized and comprehensive anthology situates the current trend historically and takes a careful and sympathetic look at both the potential and the pitfalls of such projects. Most of the contributors are participants observing themselves. I was particularly intrigued with the examination of how volunteer travel has become depoliticized since its roots in the revolutionary 1980s, and how practitioners are working to deepen the analysis, the impact, and the experience that such projects can entail. A fascinating and timely study." - Aviva Chomsky, Professor of History and Coordinator of Latin American Studies, Salem State University, USA
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