Summer Semester 2018
Prof. Dr. M. Dores Cruz
Host: Ass.-Prof. Dr. Florian Freitag
For many years, Dores Cruz has been researching the sites and landscapes of the Portuguese colonial past in Portugal and Mozambique, pursuing an integrative approach between ethnology, archeology, and history. Most recently Cruz was a Fellow at the International College Morphomata, University of Cologne in 2016 & 2017, and subsequently at the Collaborative Research Center (SFB 948) "Heroes - Heroizations - Heroisms" of the Albert-Ludwigs-University-Freiburg. Previously, she taught, in addition to numerous fellowships, in the United States (Colorado, New York / State, Virginia), South Africa (Pretoria) and in Portugal (Coimbra, Viseu, Faro). In her current research project, which is about to be published, she focuses on the Mandlakazi region of southern Mozambique, which is a landscape reminiscent of various narratives: between post-independence nationalism, Portuguese colonial memory, and local counter-narratives of ancestral heroism and royal families, Cruz sees the landscape as a horizontal, multi-temporal, multi-spatial collage in which different claims and memories are not simply superimposed, but constantly co-produce themselves and, ultimately, the space itself. This approach also shapes their work towards geographically narrower, popular memorial sites such as the Museum of Revolution in Maputo or the Portugal dos Pequenitos Adventure Museum in Coimbra. She received her PhD in 2003 from Binghamton University (SUNY) under the title “Shaping Quotidian Worlds: Ceramic Production and Consumption in Banda, Ghana c. 1780-1994”. Dores Cruz was invited to Mainz by Dr. Florian Freitag, in order to expand the research on theme parks in Mainz, Germersheim, and Bonn in a new project, including a perspective on the Global South. The host has been working with his colleague PD Dr. Filippo Carlà-Uhink, as well as the specialist of the Cultural Remaking, Prof. Scott A. Lukas (and other colleagues in Bonn) in the establishment of a substantive and disciplinarily broad-based theme park research (www.themeparks.uni-mainz.de).
The aim of the new project was to investigate the establishment, development, and reception of the medium theme park in countries of the Global South. The theme park research so far was to be supplemented by a global perspective on economic integration, the dissemination of ideas and the functionalization of the medium in the post-colonial world. The theme park research, which was hitherto centered mainly in the USA, also shapes the perspective of the scientific reception of the medium: while theme parks were first created in California in the mid-1950s (Disneyland, 1955) and from the 1970s onwards appeared in other parts of the industrialized, ‘Western’ World (eg Magic Kingdom, Florida, 1971, Europa-Park, Germany, 1975), the turn of the millennium saw the establishment of such parks (or the medium) in countries of the global south (eg Terra Encantada, Brazil, 1998, Ratanga Junction, South Africa, 1998, Dreamworld Africana, Nigeria, 2010; IMG Worlds of Adventure, Dubai, 2016). However, China and the Southeast Asian region, as well as Brazil and the Arabian Peninsula, are now key growth markets for the global theme park industry, both in terms of investment and visitor number. Guest professor Cruz brought in her interdisciplinary, international, and interinstitutional view to outline the framework of the project as well as work decisively on the concept of the Global South and the associated challenges.
Prof. Cruz taught a block seminar at Campus Germersheim in the module “Kulturwissenschaft 1” on “Places, Monuments, Landscapes: Postcolonialism and the Politics of Space in Nation Building” and also held three lectures in Mainz and Germersheim on the subject of the project. She also gave a keynote speech on “Touristic Landscapes of Empire in Portugal dos Pequenitos (Portugal)” at the first workshop of the DFG network “Key Concepts in Theme Park Studies” (19-22 April 2018, University of Bonn).