July 11, 2014
Few people use Rackham funding for a trip to Disney World, but Gen Creedon did. And to the zoo - fifty of them, in fact. Her research focuses on a comparative literature and cultural study of national parks, zoos and Disney theme parks to consider the history of wonder as it relates to the American relationship with nature. Taking a broad view that moves from early nineteenth-century explorations of the American West to recent trends in zoos and amusement parks, Gen shows relationships to histories of travel and tourism, colonial collective practices, science and technology and magic and spectacle. Her work traces how national parks, zoos and Disney shape ‘experience economies’ that structure Americans’ relationship to nature on national, civic and corporate levels.