Welcome. :)

Welcome to my blog. Here I share my successes and failures along my journey to becoming an anthropologist. My most prominent interest anthropologically are the new approaches to handing food security/healthy eating in the US, particularly in urban "food deserts". I enjoy the Anthropology of Tourism as well; combining food and tourism has scholarly promise. My other interests which have converted into anthropological hobbies of sorts include converts to Islam, diaspora of Muslims, and MENA in general. I also have some interest in historical archaeology.

I welcome comments, discussion and even respectful debating. I will however keep discussions to a respectable level. I reserve the right to ban anyone from this forum.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Contemplating the next move after graduation

People graduating from colleges and universities now are graduating in uncertain and changing times, and frankly, fearful ones. The rush of applicants into master's programs I am suspecting is at an all time high; although, I have not completed any research on it.

Anyhow, I will be part of this phenomenon and will too apply to a master's program. I will however shock many of my readers when I say that it is not an anthropology program but an MBA in Sustainable Business with a concentration on Natural and Organic Resources. This move stems from many factors. For one, I find that the future of social sciences in academia to be sketchy at best based upon some of the reading I have done. It is common for job cuts to be concentrated within social sciences first. While I am not focusing on the negative, I am of the belief that I can combine my passion for organic farming/eating well with buisness so I can make a solid living and also make a difference practically while being socially and environmentally responsible.

While I want to look at more than one program, I think I will be applying to this school (it is online) for my MBA.


I am beginning to put it all together. My background in food science, with an anthropology degree and an MBA is quite a blend but I believe that this is a positive move for me!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The march toward graduation

I know I have not posted anything lately regarding school, my life (school is my life) or anything inbetween. I decided that I will now. It is Saturday morning. O dark 30.:) It's 6:30 am. I am still in the phase of waking up early due to my substitute teaching job and early classes. One more semester bites the dust and I have one more to finish before throwing that cap in the air! Some days, I cannot believe that *it* has arrived. Here are some updates on what I have been doing....

School news
I took 3 classes this semester and worked 30-40 hours a week, and accomplished 15 hours of volunteer work, not to mention my ethnographic field work early in the semester. I earned all A's this semester, news that makes me pleased with my progress.
3 classes registered for in the Spring, Human Origins, Tourism Impact Analysis, and Native American Religions. The former will be alot of work while the later two should be easy.

I attended the American Anthropological Association national conference in New Orleans in November!! The trip took a huge financial sacrifice but it was worth every penny. I showed a poster and it was early in the morning in the "hodgepodge" section (not really but it felt like it was in an odd place). I did not have as many visitor's as I would have liked BUT the ones I did have asked alot of questions. Of course, I could make a whole post about my full experience and I just may do that soon.

I wrote my first ethnography and frankly, I am going to rewrite it soon. I need to for the publication. The quantitative data will obviously not change but I need to re-work the qualitative portion of it. I also am entering it into a student paper contest for the Society of Economic Anthropologists. I think my supervisor will help me on that.

Well,I will try and write some more detailed posts soon,seeing as though I have 2 weeks off and no job!!

the anthrogeek10

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Book Review: 'The Bread of Angels'

I want to say that this is more of a book discussion opposed to a book review. I just wanted to say that I KNOW this is not scholarly! :-)

Book Review: ‘The Bread of Angels: A Journey to Love and Faith’ written by Stephanie SaldaƱa
Publisher: Doubleday, New York; 2010
Genre: Memoir

“Above all, a love story…a page- turner that keeps you up nights.”-Geraldine Brooks

Yesterday, I finished reading one of the most powerful books I have ever had the pleasure of reading. That statement speaks volumes because I am a real “book worm” and have been since childhood thanks to my parents. After reading this book, I spent a day having the book marinate within my soul and today, I decided on the spur of the moment to blog about it. Blogging about it is not designed to help sell more of her books; although, in my view, this book deserves to be moved to the NYT Best Seller List. This blog post is an informal book review (opposed to a scholarly one) to discuss my impressions about the book and how it has affected me.

Stephanie, the writer of the book, wrote this memoir of her time in Syria between 9/04 and 9/05. Stephanie arrived in Syria by way of a Fulbright Scholarship while she was attending Harvard University in Boston, Mass, U.S.A for an M.A in Theology at the Divinity School. At the time, she was in a failing relationship with a Harvard PhD candidate studying Russian Studies so the scholarship was an amazing ticket (unbeknownst to her at the time) out of that situation. Moreover, it was a time for her to not only complete the Fulbright work but to also reassess her life and spiritual direction.

The book opens with Stephanie arriving in Damascus looking for a permanent place to live so she gravitated to the Christian Quarter of the city and began knocking on doors. She eventually found an affordable room for rent at “the Baron’s” home. The Baron is a Christian Arabic speaking man who was instrumental in giving her practice at Arabic and being a cultural guide and a protector, especially in the first few months. As readers, were are eloquently taken along the journey of her cultural mistakes, namely language ones!

Stephanie felt a great need to get away from it all at around the 6 month mark and embark to the monastery, about an hour and a half away from Damascus. She went through a long fasting and spiritual cleansing period and in that time met a young man who was about to take his final vows of chastity, per Roman Catholic tradition. The man was French and as Stephanie described him, “a beautiful man”. They seemed to have a great friendship and obvious attraction right from the beginning. During that time, she thought she should be a nun but congruently felt a strong need to get married and have children. She was certainly faced with conflicting emotions.

The Fulbright work she was funded to do appear to take a back seat in the book; something that disappointed and surprised me. It was not a focus of the story until the middle of the book when she met with a female sheik in the city who was instrumental in helping Stephanie learn more about Islam as a faith and of course, Jesus’ role as a prophet in Islam. She develops a close relationship with the sheikha and eventually is called upon at the end of her year in Syria to teach English to young Muslim women in the madrassa for girls and women that the sheikha was instrumental in starting. That in itself, as she mentions in the book, shows the tolerance and respect the sheikha has for all people of the Book.

I will not give too much away here because the surprises throughout are part of the joy of reading this book. I found it engaging and full of hope that love, whether spiritual or human, can arrive without warning and can be achieved. Let’s just say that I cried at the end.  My own personal spiritual growth has been a work in progress and I still struggle on a day to day basis with the divine. I also have struggles with my own self image and at times, self-esteem. Stephanie may have thought she was running away from her past but she was running torward a new beginning at life.

In closing, I found her storytelling to be creative, engaging and full of life! I recommend it to anyone who is on their own spiritual growth quest or is interested in insightful personal experiences of an American abroad or, like me, who just is sometimes happy with a darn good love story!

How have you struggled with your mistakes?
Do you question God's (however you define 'God') providence, especially during times of struggle?
Has learning about or spending time with others from a different belief structure or culture helped you see your own a bit more clearly?

Opened up to all

I have opened my blog up to all once again. I may set up a private blog for invited readers. Soon, I will be presenting a book review of a wonderful book I read recently called 'The Bread of Angels'. I should be finishing it up tonight.


Saturday, July 24, 2010

Fair Trade

This is a short paper I wrote in my second semester as an anthro student. I think I have grown in my writing since then but this is an interesting topic. I wrote this for Nutritional Anthropology

“Poverty is not only about a shortage of money. It is about rights and relationships; about how people are treated and how they regard themselves; about powerlessness, exclusion and loss of dignity. Yet the lack of adequate income is at its heart.”
-Mahatma Gandhi (2005: 246)

Poverty, overworked employees, inconsistent pay schedules and unsafe working conditions are just a few of the exploitive problems international producers of goods (in this case coffee and chocolate) face when not working with a fair trade company. However, there are many companies, even some locally, selling high quality fair trade products to consumers; while doing so; they are giving back quality of life to millions of people around the globe. Here, I will give a brief description of what fair trade is, how it positively affects the producer, examples of fair trade and finally, I will talk about where the US consumer can buy these fantastic products.

There are thousands of products in the marketplace that claim fair trade (usually with a label) but what is it and how does it affect the people who produce these products? In short, according to Kimberly M. Grimes, “The marketers agree to pay fair wages to the artisans and farmers (based on producer’s basic needs, costs of production, and margins for investment); provide advance payments for working capital; purchase goods directly from the producers; eliminating the chain of the middlemen speculators; and provide technical and financial assistance when necessary.(2005:239)” On its website, the Fair Trade Federation also mentions the following agreements between marketers and producers: respect for the local culture, giving the producers a healthy working environment and increasing the growth in the community through education.

Regarding different examples of fair trade consumable and fresh products, in the US those products include coffee, tea, cocoa/chocolate, honey, sugar, fresh fruit, rice, vanilla, flowers and herbs. According to their website, Trans Fair USA is a “third-party certifier of Fair Trade products in the U.S. TransFair's rigorous audit system verifies industry compliance with Fair Trade criteria.”

There are many websites that specialize in fair trade of coffee and chocolate. Incidentally, there are many more fair trade sites that sell non-consumables such as artesian goods but I will limit this to coffee and chocolate. One of my favorite products and has a dual message is ‘Peace Coffee’. I have bought this coffee many times and find it to be some of the best I have had! According to the Thanksgiving Coffee website who is a marketer of this coffee, the coffee producer has Jewish, Muslims and Christians working side by side for a common goal; working for peace is something we all know is needed in this world climate. The marketer sells fair trade coffees from around the world. I have attached a few websites on the citation page for further inquiry. If one wants to buy fair trade coffee locally Transfair USA website has provided the consumer with a list of local companies who carry fairly traded coffees. For example, Whole Foods carries a wide selection; Wal-Mart’s ‘Sam’s Choice’ coffee is affordable; Target’s ‘Archer Farms’ coffee is fairly traded, as is Costco’s ‘Kirkland Signature’ Coffee and finally, Dunkin Donuts’ espresso.

Chocolate and cocoa is another consumable that has some fantastic products on the market. One cocoa company has a huge UK following and the products can be ordered or purchased right here in the U.S. Divine Chocolate has a huge variety of cocoa and chocolate products to satisfy even the most intense chocolate cravings! The Divine Chocolate website not only has a great variety of products but the products have great packaging that catches the eye and makes an attractive gift. In addition, on the Global Exchange website, one can purchase a variety of chocolate products that are fairly traded. Locally, one can purchase fair trade chocolate at Whole Foods market (and probably other “natural food stores”).

In conclusion, I have only touched the surface on the topic of fair trade. More and more, I find people concerned about moral issues surrounding the foods they eat. Fair trade success depends on us-the consumer. I believe that purchasing products to fit our value system is a statement in itself. Personally, I have been making fair trade choices (with coffee in particular) for a couple of years now and find that it is my own statement against large company greed and abuse of the weak around the world.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Just a little note, hodge podge of thoughts

The summer is really about over and I sit here wondering where it went, I wonder if I will ever get the GRE studying finished in time before the semester begins. For those who do not know, I went to visit the College Of Sciences and found out that I need 6 classes to graduate. I am over the ranting and raving about it. I will just do it.

Roughly, here is what I signed up for after spending 4 hours last week at the uni going back and forth from office to office.

Human Origins (req)
History of Anthro Thought (req)
Independent Study (3 credits)
Intro to Women's Studies (online)
3rd Wave Feminisms (online)
and drum roll folks (not really...) Ethnology of Native Americans (also online).

Please get my straight jacket ready.....lol

Initially, I *thought* I needed 2 and I added the independent study in for interest and the fact that I will be using my fall research to write my article in The Florida Anthropologist (publishing date is in a year or so). Speaking of that, I have been informed that "my" article will have me as the first author and the project leader as the second and his archaeology student as the third. I am so cool with that btw.

What else is on the brain tonight? Ok, well, I saw this recently

I was speaking to my friend Tara bean and she thinks they look great just like I do. I personally would get one made as a permanent structure. I have 2 cats that would not enjoy 65 sq ft home living. lol I was thinking my butt would have problems turning around. Kidding on that one. :P

Plus, Tara and I discussed the risk of a big gust of wind and I said that it would blow one of these to Kansas. :) Of course, if one was in KSA, that is one strong wind, as it would be from Florida.

Look here for the YouTube show. lol

I am thinking that small home living will suit me well once grad school is over.

On another note, I watched 'Global Voices' PBS today. It was about Somali refugees to the US. An NGO helped facilitate their arrival. I thought it would be fun to be a case worker for such an organization. I went to the website and for the life of me, I forgot the name. Well, they sure have many jobs for case workers but one has to be a Christian to be hired.Blew that bubble! No evangelical jobs for this gal. :)

Watch if you like.

Those are all the immediate things on the brain. The GRE is my main thought now. I have a friend who will lend me the money to get the materials I need. I am filled with time but no cashola. lol

the anthrogeek

Friday, June 18, 2010

Dear Dr. Zorn

I have decided to break out of my hiatus and write my late professor a letter.

Dear Dr. Zorn,

Insh'Allah you are now with Him and at peace. I feel extreme grief from your passing and this feels like a death in my family, not a professor of my first graduate course. However, it may be fitting for me to express myself in this manner to help ease the pain I feel and for you to know even more of how much you meant to me.

I want to recall a few memories I had of you over my time at UCF in the Anthropology Department. The first time I saw you, I was nervous and intimidated. I continued to be intimidated by you to some extent. I accidentally said "Yes, sir" instead of "yes ma'am" about something you asked me. I was mortified but you pretended to ignore it; just another example of your class! You suggested I become a Middle Eastern Studies minor and to "take Arabic". I was really excited about that at the time. I am sorry to say the Arabic did not pan out as well as I hoped (topic for another time). Although, I had a great class in Islamic History, of which I enjoyed immensely!

I remember hearing about your illness during the first semester at the university. I hoped you would come through this horrific disease. I saw you as my advisor for the last time during the fall of 2009. You suggested that I take your class Anthropology of Tourism but as a graduate student. I knew then that all my hard work was paying off and so I said yes.

I remember during the last few months of your life how tired you looked and how teaching seemed to be difficult for you. I continued to have hope that the damn medical community could save you. I felt guilty going to you for help/assistance during this course so I minimized visits as much as I could. I realized, during our short meetings, what a brilliant, loving, and caring human being you were. I felt less and less intimidated over time (but always feeling the utmost respect for you and your profession).

I remember, sometime during the second half of Anthropology of Tourism, I felt compelled to thank you for having confidence in me, thank you for putting so much TIME AND EFFORT into EACH student, as if they were your only student. I told you that I admired you and I thanked you for all your hard work. I was and still am sincere.

What did you do for me? Well, you helped fix some of my writing problems; something I cannot thank you enough for. I now never say "additionally". :-) I now take more care to edit anything I write. Writing seems like an art; something I will work on as time passes. You helped me to stretch outside the box and think differently about gender roles, etc. You also had the graduate students read your ethnography and I felt honored to be able to actually comment about it to you in person!! Moreover, you listened to me-really listened. Of course, even though I may have said this before, I will say it again, thank you for giving me a challenge, albeit an enjoyable one.

One last memory I will share includes the time when I was in your office for an advisement regarding one of the required papers you assigned and I saw you cry--you were understandably scared. Then I started to cry too of course. You told me to take off for my birthday because life is so unpredictable. You told me to go out to dinner and go to a movie. I only took your advice half-way I will admit.

Professor--you gave 200% to your work/students and for that I thank you. This letter does not give you due credit but it is from the heart.

Sincerely--your student, Tiffany

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

thoughts about the future

Hey all...

Just sitting here working on the "international" section of the IRB (International Review Board) and my mind drifted elsewhere as always when working on the dull IRB certification. This certification protects human subjects from my nasty questions. :D Seriously, I need to write a proposal to the IRB after finishing the tests (of which there are many) and get this study ready to rock for the fall. I could use a few suggestions for the title of the study! I need input. I have three ideas.

First--this is an extension of my crazy fishing paper (on my blog). Here however I will be interviwing contemporary visitors to the Oakland Nature Preserve and maybe the lake itself. Maybe the alligators will leave me a lone if I jump in! LOL

Ok, here are the ideas I have crafted thus far:

1. Lake Apopka Tourism: The Slow Road Back From Environmental Destruction to Eco-Tourism Growth

2. Lake Apopka Tourism: Oakland Nature Preserve Brings Back Nature Lovers

3. Community Initiatives In Oakland, Florida Bring Lake Apopka Tourism Back to Life

I checked out (via home delivery because of my broken car) Grant Writing for Dummies...we shall see. I have no clue how to write a proposal. I am on my own with very little guidence.
Another item of buisness I have been in serious convo mode with myself about are graduate school programs.
I have narrowed them down to three. Preference from 1-3
1. University of Michigan (pie-in-the-sky school)
2. University of Wisconsin
3. University of Central Florida (where I am now)

Wisconsin has a prof who specializes in converts to Islam but U of Michigan is in the top 5 in the country. :P

Ok, hodgepodge of stuff...but I felt the urge so I wrote.
Comment as you will. Insh'Allah

Friday, May 14, 2010

Not in the mood to post

I am just not and I do not know why. Do not expect anything soon. I will post when the mood or inspiration strikes however.....hopefully not too long.

Allah Hafiz...

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Food coma!

I am now in a self induced food coma. Caused by too much Pad Thai with veg. Of course it had loads of peanut sauce. It was soooo good though! I need to lose weight. I will work on that once I find a job and my summer normalizes. I need to know where money is coming from. I am not in the mood to be homeless...not after all I have done this year and what not. No one is in the mood to be homeless I guess. :) That is what it will come down to if no suitable job comes along. However, I have a strong faith in God/Allah and that He will provide for me. I am not ready to go down just yet.

Just ate more of the yumminess. I need to but the brakes on the over eating. I am sick of how I look and feel.

Two people reading my blog...difficult to have too many debates but lets see how it goes.I needed it private and I think that was a good idea....may open it up in the Fall again. Ah well....time to get ready for another stressful long week. I do not feel rested.


Thursday, May 6, 2010

Going private

Hey all....

I am going private with my blog. I am job hunting and well, it is never a good thing to have a potential employer make judgements about you based upon a blog. That said, I will be going password protected in 4 days. So, Sunday of this coming weekend I will do this. Shoot me an email if you want to be listed as a reader.


Saturday, May 1, 2010

Taking a Toll On Tourism: Lake Apopka-Former Bass Paradise to Environmental Nightmare-Part 2

This one will be less pictures. I am getting lazy!! Sorry!:-) I am not certain people read my blog anyhow.

Brief Economic History of West Orange County, Florida

West Orange County is a former home to citrus groves and Lake Apopka, and as FOLO describes on its website, a “plentiful and productive lake” (Friends of Lake Apopka 2010:1). The area includes Winter Garden, Oakland, Apopka, Ocoee, and Zellwood, among others. The area had pioneers in the area of West Orange County prior to the Civil War with “many relocating to what is now Winter Garden” which is formerly known as Beulah (The Winter Garden Historical Foundation 1997:1). Most of the towns surrounding the lake have been incorporated around the same time. For example, the town of Apopka was “chartered as a town in 1882” (Shofner 1982: iii), Oakland was incorporated as a town in 1887 (Bacon 1974:31), and Winter Garden was incorporated in 1903 (TWGHF 1997:1).

Agriculture in Northwest Orange County

Early in the history of the area, prior to the twentieth century, pioneers exploited the land agriculturally (The Winter Garden Heritage Foundation 1997:1). In Oakland, citrus groves “which have flourished and formed the basis for the agricultural empire” mainly due to the industrious nature of the pioneers, of whom James Gamble Speer was one of (Bacon 1974: vii). Citrus was not the only crop grown close to Lake Apopka. Corn, beans, cotton, and sugar cane were also successful (Bacon 1974:4). According to Bacon,” its natural beauty high above Lake Apopka gave it an attractiveness held by no other spot in Florida” (Bacon 1974:4). Other towns in West Orange County such as Winter Garden and Apopka had similar economic success stories in agriculture (Shofner 1982:11). According to Shofner, “almost all of the early settlers planted at least a few citrus trees and several had sizable groves” (Shofner 1982:82).

The success continued into the twentieth century as catfish from Lake Apopka became a “cash crop” (The Winter Garden Heritage Foundation 1997: 13). Citrus also continued to be highly successful in the region and a company called ‘Winter Garden Citrus Products Co-Op’ ran a processing plant for canned orange juice, which proved to be of high demand during World War II. Following the war, frozen orange juice concentrate was developed by the same company for the national market (The Winter Garden Heritage Foundation 1997:39). Zellwood was also an area of heavy growth in agriculture. By 1950, the town had become “the number one shipping point for perishable crops on the Seaboard Air Line Railway” (Mormino 2005:211). Zellwood also has been famous for its sweet corn and produced “up to three harvests of…corn…a year” (Mormino 2005:211) and by the 1980’s, the corn shipped around the country from Zellwood totaled $71.4 million (Mormino 2005:211). Also, a report released by the Florida Department of Agriculture from 1930 mentions the agricultural success of the county; it mentions the poultry farms in Apopka and how the local hatchery “operates a 47,000 egg incubator” (Florida Department of Agriculture 1930:43).

The above shows Lake Apopka filled with toxins!

Agriculture, Pollution, and Lake Apopka

Lake Apopka, located in the northeast corner of Orange County, is part of the Harris Chain of Lakes located in Lake County which form into the Ocklawaha River and finally joins up with the St. John’s River (Riley 2005:281). This lake has been considered “one of the state’s most polluted” (Marino 1994:102). Human manipulation of Lake Apopka by white settlers began in 1880 through the building of the Apopka-Beauclair Canal by the Apopka Canal Company to “create a waterway for navigation and agricultural use” (Friends of Lake Apopka 2010:1). In 1941, a levee was built by the Zellwood Drainage and Water Control District (ZDWCD) to create ‘muck farms’. That is, they drained 20,000 acres of Lake Apopka filtering marshes and used the soil as farmland (Friends of Lake Apopka 2010:1).

The damage to the lake began when the citrus plants in Winter Garden began discharging their pesticide waste and sewage, into the lake during the 1920’s; a time period of increased economic growth (Riley 2005:281-82). At the same time, human waste was being discharged into the lake by the Winter Garden Pollution Control Facility; a sewage plant was built (Friends of Lake Apopka 2010:2). The second major alteration to the lake occurred in 1942 when “DDT and other pesticides…entered the lake as a result of extensive agricultural activity surrounding the lake” (Semenza 1997:1030). Finally, according to Semenza, between 1957-1981, a manufacturing plant (Tower Chemical) about 1.5 miles from Lake Apopka, that “both manufactured and stored both chlorinated and organophosphate insecticides” discharged the waste into a pond that lacked a lining (Semenza 1997:1030). In 1980, during a very heavy rain, the pond overflowed into “a marsh that drains into Lake Apopka” (Semenza 1997:1030).

Picture of 'muck' farming

So, over time, particularly from 1942 on, algae blooms began to occur in the lake due to “high nutrient loading” (Friends of Lake Apopka 2010:2). Algae blooms severely limit the oxygen in the aquatic environment by blocking sunlight and preventing growth of aquatic plants already present in the water (Friends of Lake Apopka 2010:1).

Deterioration of game fish

Although Lake Apopka is an ecosystem with living chains that have been severely affected by the pollution, I will concentrate on the reduction of game fish for the purposes of this paper. In 1947, “game fish make up 35% of the fish population, shad 20% by weight” (Friends of Lake Apopka 2010:2). Shad is not considered a game fish. In 1950, there was a documented increase in game fish in the lake; listed at being 60% of the fish population (Friends of Lake Apopka 2010:3). However, according to the FOLA, the game fish begin to reduce in quality and quantity in 1952 (Friends of Lake Apopka 2010:3). In 1957, shad made up 82% of the fish population and by 1962, Friends of Lake Apopka asserts that fish deaths became “widespread” (Friends of Lake Apopka 2010:3). In 1965, DDT levels in catfish were found to exceed legal limits so harvesting was terminated at this time (Friends of Lake Apopka 2010:3). In 1973, “bass production” deteriorated and in 1977, researchers at the University of Florida “say the lake is not ‘getting any dirtier’ after a half-century of deterioration” (Friends of Lake Apopka 2010:4). Finally, “massive” fish deaths” were recorded in 1981 (Friends of Lake Apopka 2010:5).

Trade and transportation

The area became the center for trade (Shofner 1982: iii) so the need to transport the agricultural products to market in addition to bringing “tourists into Central Florida for its healthful climate and healthful atmosphere”, brought the need for a rail line into the area (Bacon 174:7). In Oakland, the Orange Belt Railroad came into town in 1886 instigated by Peter Demens, who was an immigrant from Russia (Bacon 1974:7, 11). The line originally traveled from Longwood to Lake Apopka while serving the Town of Winter Garden as well (The Winter Garden Heritage Foundation 1997:44). Soon after, Demens was able to expand the line to the area what is now St. Petersburg (although not without financial hardship). The name St. Petersburg came from Peter Demens himself after he unsuccessfully tried to rename the Town of Oakland ‘St. Petersburg’ after the city of his birth in Russia (Bacon 1974:9).

However, the success of the new rail line was short lived due in to the “big freeze” that killed most of the citrus crops and “the Orange Line became almost non-existent” (Bacon 1974:15). A second rail line came into town in 1890 called the Tavares and Gulf (“T &G”) which eventually was taken over by the Seaboard Coast Line Railroad Company (Bacon 1974:15). In Apopka, the town utilized the rail lines in Oakland (Orange Belt Railroad) until 1887. From there, the Florida Railway and Navigation Company arrived to the area as did the Tavares, Orlando, and Atlantic (TO&A) which eventually “became part of the Seaboard Airline Railroad” (see figure 2) (Shofner 1982:72).

Fishing Tourism

History of fishing tourism in Northwest Orange County

If you were a tourist to the Northwest Orange County area in the early twentieth century, you may have most likely would have traveled in by train. Lake Apopka, once Florida’s second largest lake and was, according to many sources, a viable game fishing tourist destination for many around the country (Bacon 1974:39). For example, twenty nine fish camps once lined the shores of this vibrant lake (Friends of Lake Apopka timeline 2010:1). In Apopka for example, “the winter of 1919-1920 brought numerous visitors” and they “experienced a modest increase in tourism” following WWI (Shofner 1982:175). In Winter Garden, the city’s “first brick hotel”, The Shelby was built in 1915 (Orlando Business Journal 2003: n.p.).
Looking in a copy of a American Automobile Association’s (AAA)‘Southeastern Tour book’ from the year of 1935, one would see Lake Apopka listed as the “world’s most dependable lake” for catching large-mouth black bass fish (American Automobile Association 1935:48). Likewise, if you were a tourist to the Orlando area in the early 1950’s, you may have picked up a copy of ‘The Orlando, Winter Park, and Central Florida Attraction’ guide and on both pages 10 and 12, you as the visitor would be introduced to Lake Apopka as the first lake listed and saying that it is “famous for black bass” (The Orlando, Winter Park, and Central Florida Attraction guide 1951:10, 12).
Oakland Hotel

In Oakland, located on the south end of Lake Apopka, a hotel called the ‘Oakland Hotel’ was built “in the first decade of the 1900’s” (Bacon 1974:39). One of the advertising brochures for the hotel stated,
“The Oakland Hotel is new and equipped with every device necessary to the comfort of its guests. Large airy rooms, en suite or single, with or without bath, telephones, electric lights, water from a fine artesian well…Transient rates will be 3.00 a day” (Bacon 1974:39)

Like the other hotels in the area I researched, this one was also designed for the tourist who wanted to fish for bass in Lake Apopka. Bacon emphasizes this by mentioning that “the hostelry became a mecca for sportsmen all over the United States, drawn by the excellent bass fishing in the lake” (Bacon 1974:39). In figure 3 and 4, are other advertisements for the hotel and give similar descriptions about this hotel. In figure 3, the advertisement was originally located in an Orange County and Orlando City Directory from 1913, soon after being built. In figure 4, the advertisement was originally in the St. Cloud Tribune from 1920. In figure 5, the reader will see a picture of the hotel as it appeared in 1910 (Bacon 1974:38).

According to Bacon, the hotel was “condemned and was torn down in the 1920” (Bacon 1974:40). The kitchen and dining hall building, once connected to the hotel, is back to being a private residence (Bacon 1974:40). There is some inconsistency in reference to what the hotel was used for after the hotel was no longer in business. In a speech given in 1975, in Oakland by Buck Hull Jr., it was stated by him that in 1931, “A Jacksonville man (whose name has been lost to history) opened a boys school in the old hotel on what is now Tubb St.” (Hull 1975:n.p.). To date, there have been no further references to collaborate that information and this exploration is ongoing.

“Boom” period

During the early part of the 1920’s, the United States was facing enormous economic growth; this time was also known as the “boom” period (The Winter Garden Heritage Foundation 1997:29). The Northwest area of Orange County, Florida was not exempt from this growth. For example, “in 1925, 2500 rail cars of citrus and vegetables were shipped from the city’s busy packing houses” (The Winter Garden Heritage Foundation 1997:29).During this boom period, fishing tourism increased as well. For example, ‘Fishermen’s Paradise’, a fishing camp in Apopka had “attracted national attention to Lake Apopka’s recreational qualities” and started bringing tourists in from Orlando and by 1923, these trips became a daily occurrence (Shofner 1982:188). Hotels also opened during this time. One of the first hotels built was the Wayside Inn in Apopka in 1920.

Edgewater Hotel

The Edgewater Hotel was another one of the popular hotels where anglers stayed during their fishing trip. The Edgewater is located in Winter Garden along the south shore of Lake Apopka on Plant Street. It originally opened in 1927 and according to their website, it “had the distinction of being one of the safest and most technologically advanced in the country” (Edgewater Hotel 2010). In addition, the hotel featured an Otis elevator which is still in working order to this day. The website also states that the clientele were “wealthy business tycoons in the 1920’s” (Edgewater Hotel 2010). The site does point out that “Winter Garden was a destination resort area due to the bass fishing abundance” in Lake Apopka. In 1936, fish cleaning stations, complete with refrigerators, were added on each floor, once local business men decided to lease out the hotel (Edgewater Hotel 2010).

In the 1940’s and beyond, the hotel had been used for a variety of other purposes other than tourism. For example, the hotel was used to house WWII soldiers in the 1940’s. From there, the hotel was used to house school teachers. Finally, in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, the hotel was utilized for the construction crew who were working on the development of Walt Disney World in Orlando (Edgewater Hotel 2010). Following that, it is uncertain what the hotel was used for. Now, the hotel is currently open as a quaint Bed and Breakfast Style Hotel and has been renovated in the early twenty first century to resemble the early twentieth century style (Edgewater Hotel 2010).

On an occasional basis, the West Orange Times, in Winter Garden printed names and geographic locations of the guests who stayed at the Edgewater Hotel so I accumulated the data and separated the areas into the Southern states, Midwest/Great Lakes region, Northeast states, and finally the Western states. I accumulated two weeks of data from each of the 3 years, representing weeks close (by one week) to one another. The years represented are 1934, 1939, and 1945. The data figures represent the geographic regions of the southern states, Midwest/Great Lakes states, northeastern states, and the western states respective in that order. In 1934 for February 16 (West Orange Times 1934:15) and March 9 (West Orange Times 1934:26), the data set was 60%, 37.5%, 2.5%, and 0%. In 1939, for January 20 (West Orange Times 1939:34) and March 8 (West Orange Times 1939:45), the data set was 58%, 37.5%, 4.5%, and 0%. In 1945 for February 16 (West Orange Times 1945:46) and March 2 (West Orange Times 1945:37), the data set was 61.36%, 38.64, 0%, and 0%.

Trailer City and Tin Can Tourists

The hotels were not the only places where visitors to West Orange County stayed while trying to catch a winning bass. Once the automobile became more affordable to the middle-class, in the early 1920’s, people “left their worries in the North and camped in Florida” (Mormino 2005:265). Initially, according to Mormino, the first trailer campers were “really wooden boxes mounted on trucks or a flatbed pulled by a Model T” (Mormino 2005:265). The people were called “Tin Can Tourists” because “they drove their automobiles to the state, stayed in campgrounds, and ate food from tin cans” (Stronge 2008:89). Stronge asserts that the “Tin Can Tourist was generally from the Midwest part of the United States opposed to the northeast. He states, “tourists from the northeast were often more urban, seemed more likely to travel by train, and seemed to prefer the southeast coast of the state”( Stronge 2008:89).

“Tin Can Tourists” drove to the area and stayed in Trailer City in Winter Garden (A Journey Through Historic Winter Garden 1997:56). In a 1938-1939 advertisement for Trailer City, it talks about all the amenities that the camp is rich in. For instance, it stated that it had “swimming pool, tennis, shuffleboard, horseshoe, croquet courts and auditorium-everything for the trailer tourist convenience and pleasure is here” (Trailer Tourist advertisement 1938/9:n.p.). Another interesting piece of information is the price to rent a space in Trailer City. One could park their camper and stay for $1.50/week (Trailer Tourist advertisement 1938/9:n.p.).

The “Tin Can Tourists” also had their own national organization called “Tin Can Tourists of the World” and had over “36,000 registered members, and thousands who are not registered”(West Orange Times 1936: 25). In the same article, it was stated that the Winter Garden trailer camp is “the nicest place he has seen in Florida for a camp” (West Orange Times 1936:25). Also, in an article dated on March 27, 1936, it asserts, “Winter Garden for the next week or so will be the tin can tourist capital of the world! And that is no mean honor!” (West Orange Times 1936:15). One article in the West Orange Times said, “not economical of mode of life appeals to trailer tourist” and continuing on by saying the trailer tourist is, “mostly men and women who retired from business or professional activities with considerable accumulated money and who prefer the simple life” (West Orange Times 1936:33). When Trailer City ceased to exist in Winter Garden is unknown at this time but is a topic of further research.

Fish camps

No discussion on fishing tourism in the Northwest Orange County area would be complete without discussing the fish camps. Fish camps were places along the river where the angler could stay, purchase lures and bait, and launch their boat. Montrose says that , “they did not feature all the conveniences of modern day living” (Montrose 2005:3). They were “shacks” and “remote, hard to reach locations were preferred” (Montrose 2005:3).

On Lake Apopka, there were initially 29 fish camps along the lake prior to the development of the muck farms (Friends of Lake Apopka 2010). In Apopka, Johnson’s Fish Camp “attracted national attention” according to Shofner (Shofner 1982:188). In a tourist attraction booklet from 1951 concentrating on Orlando, Winter Park and Central Florida, has a listing of fish camps people could frequent on Lake Apopka. (The Orlando, Winter Park and Central Florida Attraction Guide 1951:12). The camps included not only Johnson’s Camp but also The Gap, Sunshine Manor, Killarney, Oakland, Tom’s Camp, and in Lake County, Montverde (The Orlando, Winter Park, and Central Florida Attraction Guide 1951:12).

The pollution in Lake Apopka eventually took its toll. Based upon data from Friends of Lake Apopka, it is in 1952 when the game fish begin to reduce in numbers (Friends of Lake Apopka 2010:3). In the year of 1956, there were 8 less fish camps in operation than before the muck farms began discharging toxins in the lake ( Friends of Lake Apopka 2010:3). In the year 1985, there were no more fish camps in operation on Lake Apopka (Friends of Lake Apopka 2010:5) In one Florida freshwater fishing guide published in 1987, I looked in the section for Orange County and Lake County and Lake Apopka is not mentioned as having fish camps in operation (Branyon 1987:85).


My research for this paper derived from a variety of sources. Some of the sources have been incomplete, although research is still ongoing. For instance, the archaeological research at the Oakland Hotel has been omitted from this paper because I thought that by including the archaeological research completed to date, I would not be answering the research question. Although the excavation is complete and the sample in the midden had many interesting artifacts from the early part of the twentieth century, artifact analysis is not complete.

The lack of data regarding the Edgewater Hotel also could be a subject for further research in time. The majority of the scholarly sources I used were written by historians or biologists; I found the subject of fishing tourism to be sorely lacking in the social sciences. Also, in some of the work I sourced, particularly those focusing on tourism in the United States in the twentieth century, Lake Apopka was not mentioned once; at the same time, it was mentioned countless times in literature aimed at the tourists already here (guide books) or history literature with Northwest Orange County as a regional theme. I chose to utilize a fishing guide from 1987 (Branyon) despite the fact the year is two years following the end of my time period because I thought it was further evidence that the lake was not viable for anglers. I was not able to find fishing guides for previous years. All that said, much more work could be completed on this topic but that is beyond the scope of this paper.


Here, I researched the connection between the environmental decline of Lake Apopka to the fishing tourism that is now just a memory. My recent archaeological work in Oakland, Florida brought this subject matter to my attention. I have long been interested in the natural world around me and like many, find it appalling what we as humans do in the name of “improvement”; including some of my own actions. I did not choose this topic because of an inherit passion for fishing. I chose it to expand my knowledge about the consequences of technological development on not only nature but the human beings involved as well. I also chose it to learn more about fishing tourism in general.

In my readings while researching the paper, I could not help but wonder about the vegetable and fruit packers along the lake who had lost their jobs due to the purchase of the muck farms by St. Johns River Water Management due to the Lake Apopka Restoration Act of 1996. For the right person, interested in fishing tourism and environmental health, a more in depth study on this topic could possibly lead to educating future generations.

Works Cited

Bacon, Eve
1974 Oakland: The Early Years. Chuluota: The Mickler House Publishers

Branyon, Max
1987 The Orlando Sentinel Florida Freshwater Fishing Guide. Orlando: Sentinel
Communications Company

Boyd, Lydia and Lynn Pritcher
Brief History of the U.S. Passenger Rail Industry. Duke University Libraries: Digital
Collections. n.p. Last modified January 25, 2008
Date accessed March 17, 2010

Clark, Bernal E, Ed.
1930 Florida: Empire of the Sun. Tallahassee: Florida State Hotel Commission.

Duda, Alfred M. and Robert J. Johnson
1984 Lakes Are Losing the Battle in Clean Water Programs. Water Pollution Control
Federation. 56 (7): 815-822

Edgewater Hotel
2010 “Our History”. http://www.historicedgewater.com/history.htm
accessed April 27, 2010

Florida Department of Agriculture. Central Florida report.
1930 Tallahassee: Department of Agriculture

Friends of Lake Apopka, “Lake Apopka Timeline”.
2010 http://www.fola.org/PDFs/LakeApopkaTimeline.pdf. accessed March 13, 2010

Idaho Fish and Game. “Fish Glossary/Definitions”.
2010 http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/fish/glossary/ date accessed, April 18, 2010

Jakle, John A.
1985 The Tourist: Travel in the Twentieth-Century North America.
Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press

Jennings, Gayle
2007 Water-Based Tourism, Sport, Leisure, and Recreation Experiences. In Water-
Based Tourism, Sport, Leisure, and Recreation Experiences. Gayle Jennings ed.
Pp. 1-22. Burlington: Butterworth-Heinemann Publications.

Killion, Les
2007 Sport Fishing and Big Game Fishing. In Water-
Based Tourism, Sport, Leisure, and Recreation Experiences. Gayle Jennings ed.
Pp. 112-127. Burlington: Butterworth-Heinemann Publications.

Montrose, Jack
2003 Tales from a Florida Fish Camp. Sarasota: Pineapple Press, Inc.

Marino, G
1994 Lake Apopka Pollution Hurts Bass Population. Science News Vol. 146 (7): 102

Mormino, Gary R.
2005 Land of Sunshine, State of Dreams: A Social History of Modern Florida.
Gainesville: University Press of Florida.

National Marine Fisheries Service. “Definition of Fisheries Technical Terms”.
accessed, April 18, 2010

Orlando Business Journal.
2003 “Winter Garden Celebrates its 100th Anniversary”,
Friday April 18:n.p. accessed April 25, 2010

Riley, Nano
2005 Lake Apopka: From Natural Wonder to Unnatural Disaster. In Paradise Lost?
Jack E. Davis and Raymond Arsenault eds. Pp. 280–293.Gainesville: University of Florida Press

Sandoval-Strausz, A.K.
2007 Hotel: An American History. New Haven: Yale University Press

Semenza, Jan C., with Paige E. Tolbert, Carol H. Rubin, Louis J. Guillette, Jr., Richard J.
1997 Reproductive Toxins and Alligator Abnormalities at Lake Apopka, Florida.
Environmental Health Perspectives 105(10): 1030-1032

Shofner, Jerrell H.
1982 History of Apopka and Northwest Orange County, Florida. Apopka: Apopka
Historical Society

St. John’s River Water Management District.
2010 “Lake Apopka: Water Quality Improvements, North Shore Restoration”.
http://sjr.state.fl.us/publications/pdfs/fs_lapopka.pdf accessed April 13, 2010

Stronge, William B.
2008 The Sunshine Economy: An Economic History of Florida since the Civil War.
Gainesville: University Press of Florida.

The Winter Garden Heritage Foundation
1997 All Aboard! A Journey Through Historic Winter Garden: 1880-1950. Winter
Garden: Winter Garden Heritage Foundation

Thompson, Tommy R.
2003 Florida in American popular magazines. The Florida Historical Quarterly. Vol. 82
(1). Pp. 1-15
Trailer Tourist advertisement
N.d. Oakland Nature Preserve

Walther, Lynette
1990 Apopka. Florida Wildlife, January-February n.p.

Weiss, Thomas
2004 Tourism in America before WWII. Journal of Economic History. Vol. 64 (2). pp.

West Orange Times Newspaper
1934 Guests at the Edgewater. February 16:26

West Orange Times Newspaper
1934 Many Register at the Edgewater. March 9:15

West Orange Times Newspaper
1936 Past Royal Chief of TCT Visitor at Winter Garden Trailer City. February 25:25

West Orange Times Newspaper
1936 Welcome Tin Canners!. March 27:15

West Orange Times Newspaper
1939 Guests at the Edgewater. January 20:34

West Orange Times Newspaper
1939 Edgewater Guests. March 8:45

West Orange Times Newspaper
1945 Registered at the Edgewater. February 16:45

West Orange Times Newspaper
1945 Guests at the Edgewater . March 2:37

Taking a Toll On Tourism: Lake Apopka-Former Bass Paradise to Environmental Nightmare-Part I

Hi Folks. Here is my final paper. It has many research "holes" in it. More work needs to be done but I did my best. I am beating myself about my performance on this paper but it is over. :-) I will do my best to add some interesting photos throughout. This is a 6,000 word paper so be warned. LOL

Note: I will post this in 2-3 parts for reading ease. :)


Central Florida has the dubious honor of having Orlando, a very well known and traveled city within its boundaries. Yet, many who travel to the area may be unaware that West Orange County, about fifteen miles north of Orlando, has, at least prior to the mid-twentieth century, a notable history of tourism as well. In fact, the popular attractions with their iconic mascots that attract a multi-national visitor base to Orlando today were not what brought people to Central Florida during that time. Freshwater fishing was the major attractant for travelers to the West Orange County area in the early part of the twentieth century. (Duda 1984:819

West Orange County and the southeast part of Lake County is home to Lake Apopka, formerly a 14 mile wide lake described by wildlife writer, Lynette Walther, as a “bass nirvana” (Walther 1990: n.p). The lake was the second largest lake in Florida, covering 53,000 acres. Now, it is “the fourth largest lake” in the state of Florida (Mormino 2005:211). Oakland and Winter Garden are both abutted along the shore and were once popular destinations for fishing tourism. On the St. John’s River Water Management (SJRWM) website, they describe the Lake Apopka of the past as a “world-class bass fishery, luring the nation’s top fishermen to the lake to fish” (St. John’s River Water Management District 2010). Along similar lines, Friends of Lake Apopka (FOLA) documents on its website that the lake “was home to 29 fish camps on its 40 miles of shoreline” (Friends of Lake Apopka 2010:1). However, by the late 1950’s, Lake Apopka was facing serious degradation primarily due to agricultural pollution initiated in the early 1940’s (Duda 1984:819). Since agricultural development, “famed fisheries have collapsed under the eutrophic conditions, recreation is impaired, and tourism has been seriously affected” (Duda 1984:819).

I argue that the degradation of Lake Apopka is directly correlated to the decline of fishing tourism in West Orange County. I will focus my research regarding fishing tourism on Lake Apopka in general, but concentrate on the City of Winter Garden and the Town of Oakland. The boundary years I chose to stay within are 1920-1985. The year 1920 was chosen because it was about twenty years prior to the beginning of the degradation and was a “high point” of fishing tourism while the end boundary year, 1985 was set because that is when fish camps were documented to no longer be present on Lake Apopka.

Before I discuss my research regarding the decline of tourism on Lake Apopka, I talk briefly about the importance of “nature as an attraction” (Jakle 1885:53) to the American traveler in the early twentieth century. I then inform the reader with brief background into the history of tourism in Florida focusing on the said time period. I then address the topic of freshwater fishing in the United States in addition to defining some fishing terms I use throughout. Then, I will concentrate on the trajectory of the agricultural industry and follow with a discussion on the connection between agriculture and the degradation of Lake Apopka. Finally, I address the topic of the former fishing tourism industry on Lake Apopka and how the degradation of the lake affected tourism.

Check here for the Friends of Lake Apopka:


The data for this study derives from historical research, including scholarly and popular sources. For the past eight months, I have been on a team doing archaeological research at the former Oakland Hotel. The artifact analysis has not been completed as of this time, so the results will be released at a later date. Some of the resources I have utilized include archival information found at The West Orange Times Newspaper (WOTN), Oakland Nature Preserve (ONP), Central Florida Memory.org, and The Winter Garden Heritage Foundation (TWGHF). At the WOTN, I searched through the available archives and was able to acquire some geographic demographics of some of the guests who visited the Edgewater Hotel during the high season (December-mid-March). I was only able to acquire several weeks worth of data because some of the years are absent from their archives or the data was not published.

Early Twentieth Century Tourism in America

ransportation Technology
In the early twentieth century, “railroads and steamship lines set the standards for travel” (Jakle 1985:100). At the end of the nineteenth century up until 1916, “rail travel tripled” with a high point during the year 1920 (Boyd 2008: n.p.). Thusly, people had the capability, depending on funds, to travel many places around the country. Relating this to fishing tourism in particular, it was said by Mordue that, “with rail transportation came more opportunities for the middle-and upper-class urbanite to escape business and everyday life to enjoy fishing in relative rural remoteness, which was to signal the birth of modern fishing tourism” (Mordue 2009:533).

Furthermore, the automobile price fell in 1921, making them more accessible to a greater number of people (Stronge 2008:86). According to Stronge, the number of registered vehicles “exceeded 10 million” (Stronge 2008:86). Also, as Dulles notes, “every Tom, Dick and Harry toured the country in the 1930s-thanks to the automobile” (Weiss 2004:291). Indeed, the ability to travel faster due to new technology seemed to give the American people greater possibilities regarding where they traveled.

“Nature as an attraction” for the early American tourist

During the early twentieth century, “the search for natural beauty and other environmental amenities became a prime impulse in traveling in North America” (Jakle 1985:53). Also, social standing during this time period was determined by having “leisure as a nonproductive consumption of time” (Jakle 1985:56). For example, according to Jakle, he says that for the wealthy, “activity focused on the giant hotels, and on the spring houses and bathhouses where tourists drank and bathed in mineral waters” (Jakle 1985:53). Jennings concurs and asserts that “within Western nations, water has long been associated with restorative qualities and medicinal benefits” (Jennings 2007:2). Atlantic City’s seaside resorts, in contrast to the bathhouses and spring houses for the elite, attracted “the middle and lower classes. Atlantic city provided the allusion of catering to the elite” (Jakle 1985:56). According to Mormino, “at the turn of the century, few Americans could imagine, let alone afford, a week in Florida but they might indulge in a day at Coney Island or Atlantic City” (Mormino 2005:77). One should not forget the infamous Niagara Falls. It was not only a “must see” for the American tourist but the foreign one as well (Jakle 1985:54).

Other specific tourist destinations where “nature as an attraction” took center stage in the early twentieth century include the national parks such as Yellowstone and Yosemite. In fact, “one of the first tourist events of the century was the Sierra Club's first annual outing in 1901… held in Yosemite Valley” (Weis 2004:314). The parks offered to the tourist, “physical and mental renewal” (Jakle 1985:83). Revisiting the concept of medicinal benefits, “tourists sought in nature physical and mental renewal. Physical exertion- drinking by the waters, bathing by the shore, hiking in the woods, mountain climbing-promised good health” says Jakle, referring to tourists who frequented the national parks (Jakle 1985:83). The national parks were “where nature was respected as an attraction and not fully exploited as a commercial resource” (Jakle 1985:83).

Early Florida tourism

According to Weiss, “the growth of Florida and other southern destinations…was largely a post-Civil War phenomenon” (Weiss 2004:304). Florida tourism began earlier than the twentieth century and attracted people who “initially came as refugees from northern winters” and who “grew fond of the balmy conditions of the Florida seashore” and decided create a permanent residence in the state (Sandoval-Strausz 2007:118). The tourists coming to Florida in the early 1900’s were, as Stronge asserts, “relatively wealthy” because most of the middle-class manufacturers could not afford a trip on an average salary of $526 per year so many of the hotels were designed for the wealthier classes (Stronge 2008: 81). Henry Flagler was a New Yorker who was instrumental in building the Florida tourist industry (Stronge 2008:39). According to Weiss, the upscale Flagler hotels “helped to create an image that the entire state of Florida was an exotic tourist destination” (Weiss 2004:306). Stronge says that, "Henry Flagler’s primary interest in coming to Florida was to build a winter resort destination for the wealthy” (Stronge 2008: 81).

People were coming to Florida for its natural beauty and as Thompson states, “Fascinated by the abundant sunshine and the beauty of its flora and fauna, a steady progression of visitors tantalized the rest of the country with an ‘Edenic’ image of the peninsula” (Thompson 2003:1). The image of a healthful environment was touted by Northern physicians such as George Walton (Thompson 2003:2). He published an article in the “early 1880’s” in Popular Science Monthly titled, “Florida as a Health Resort for Consumptives” (Thompson 2003:2).

The turn of the twentieth century, however, the image of health was, according to Thompson, “recategorized as an escape for America’s wealthier classes” (Thompson 2003:4). However, some of the advertising Florida used to increase tourism still appeared to have some component of a health image to them, at least during the first third of the twentieth century. For example, in the West Orange Times dated on April 20, 1934, there is an advertisement the ‘All Florida Committee’ ran titled “Health for Sale…to all the World” (see figure 1) (West Orange Times 1934:47). In addition, The Florida State Hotel Commission released a book in 1930 called Florida: Empire of the Sun. In it, the health benefits of visiting Florida were mentioned. It says, “great crystal springs, found in almost every part of the state, provide the setting for ideal health resorts” (Clark 1930:35)

Freshwater Fishing and American Culture

Defining the language

First, the term ‘water-based tourism’, as Jennings defines it, is tourism that “relates to any touristic activity undertaken in or in relation to water resources such as lakes, dams, canals, creeks and streams, rivers, waterways, marine coastal zones, seas, oceans, and ice-associated areas” (Jennings 2007:10). Secondly, ‘game fishing’, the kind of fishing people took part in on Lake Apopka is, according to the website managed by the Idaho Fish and Game (IFG) organization, is a type of fishing where “fish that are fished for as sport and subject to regulations of take” (Idaho Fish and Game 2010) . ‘Big game fishing’ however is a subset of ‘game fishing’ that focuses on “larger” pelagic species of fish. On the website of the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), ‘Pelagic fish’ are defined as “fish that spend most of their life swimming in the water column as opposed to resting on the bottom” (National Marine Fisheries Service 2010). Third, the term ‘angling’, also is defined on the IFG website as “sport fishing for enjoyment, catching one fish at a time using a hook” (Idaho Fish and Game 2010). Finally, according to the IFG website, the term ‘nongame’ refers to “fish not considered sport fish and generally not regulated”.


Popularity of freshwater fishing in the United States
According to Mordue, “freshwater fishing, even though it is one of the most popular leisure activities in the western world, it is an under-researched area in the tourism and leisure literatures” (Mordue 2009:535). However, fishing as a leisure activity is not a new phenomenon. Mordue points out that it dates back to the “ancient Egyptians and Chinese nobility who deployed a stricter means of angling, with a line and a hook, that turned subsistence fishing into sport fishing for the privileged” (Mordue 2009:531). In the United States, Mordue says that the activity of fishing is “tied to a shared Anglo-American ‘countryside idea’ and that “once fishing made the transformation from work into leisure, the history of its social division began to be imbedded in elite and popular culture” (Mordue 2009:531). One example of early, fishing tourism is in the Adirondacks (Weiss 2004:306). Here, "tourism…revolved largely around hunting, fishing, and camping” (Weiss 2004:306). However, Weiss points out that the popularity was due in part to the need to travel to a non-urban and presumably “healthier environment” (Weiss 2004:307). Regarding part of the reason for the popularity of fishing, Killion says “fishing has become a popular sport motivated by the challenges of competition, whether against others or against the self” (Killion 2007:112).

Part II to come!!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

mumbles and jumbles!

Today is a icky rainy day. Perfect for sitting in and doing some studying. lol Now that I have two papers out of the way, I have one more to attend to. This one is cut from a different cloth. It relates to fishing tourism in the early 20's century in USA. I will then give an historical background into the Lake Apopka area, it's heavy tourism days and then the beginnings of the death of the lake due to muck farming/technology/pestisides, etc. It's historical. Ethnographies will begin in the fall to study the present (as they have been cleaning up the lake).

My moronic neighbors were blaring their music. They are my friends on my FB account. I figured the best way to tell them to turn it down is to complain on FB! The direct approach does not work with them. The music is now off. :D Yeah!

It is raining in typical Florida fashion now.....so I better begin to get all my sources/notes, etc in order. I may have up to 30 sources for this paper.


Saturday, March 27, 2010

When will I graduate???

Apparently no one at my university knows. It's a big mystery. I went to part time for a reason--to work more due to personal issues I had late last semester. I had to drop two required classes. One is offered in the fall but the other one is not up.I wrote the prof who teaches it. She is a paleontologist. Rumor has it she resigned and she told me in her email that she is teaching it in the Fall. I think she is not telling the truth.Maybe she is not teaching it but someone will. I think that is possible. She told me to keep looking out for the class. Humm...

This uncertainty is really bothering me. I am the type to plan and have a genderal idea of what I am doing.This is a required class and no other school in the vicinity up to 2 hours teaches this.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Women, Identity and Tourism: From “Hapa Haole” Dancing Girls in Hawaii to Those Who “Mother” in Post-Socialist Bulgaria

The ideal vacation for many in the West includes the ocean and the beach in some form. Hawaii for example, is aggressively advertised as a location destination for many mainlander Americans. The image that Hawaii generates in the minds of the majority of Americans has not been an accident but a purposefully marketed one (Desmond 1999:12). Women, specifically those who identify as ‘hapa haole’, or mixed Hawaiian and Caucasian ancestry have been the main identifiers for the Hawaiian image (Desmond 1999:23). In Hawaii, it is the image of the hula dancer that is being marketed to the potential tourist. The beach in Bulgaria, off the coast of the Black Sea has been a popular beach destination for Europeans (Ghodsee 2005:1). In Bulgaria, even during the Post-Socialist period, women continue to dominate the tourism industry despite having male competition for jobs (Ghodsee 2005:111). In both Hawaii and Bulgaria, women are fundamental to the identity of the tourism industry albeit with marked differences.

Two cultural anthropologists, Jane C. Desmond, author of Staging Tourism: Bodies on Display from Waikiki to Sea World (1999) and Kristin Ghodsee, author of The Red Riviera (2005) have written about how women are central to the identity within the tourism industry in their respective countries and areas of research. Both Desmond and Ghodsee have used participant observation and historical research as methodologies for their ethnographies.
At the time of this publication Desmond was an associate professor of American Studies at the University of Iowa and has completed research in the United States, specifically in Hawaii. Ghodsee is an assistant professor of gender and woman’s studies at Bowdoin College and has completed research in Post-Socialist Bulgaria and analyzed “women working in the tourism sector and how the process of economic transformation in 1989 irreversibly altered their trajectories” (Ghodsee 2005:5 ).
Here, I compare the work of both Desmond and Ghodsee regarding how in both discourses, women play important roles within the tourism sector. However, within this analysis, I will be omitting Desmond’s discussion pertaining to animal tourism. First, will situate my discussion by giving a brief historical overview of tourism in Hawaii and argue using evidence from the work of Desmond that the current ‘hapa haole’ identity of women in Hawaii is key to the economic survival of the tourist industry. Finally, I will analyze the role of women within the tourist sector in Bulgaria and argue using evidence from the work of Ghodsee that women are central to the tourist industry due to their “innate nurturing” abilities even in the highly competitive Post-Socialist job market.

In Hawaii, the historical beginnings of mass tourism “as a concerted commercial venture, was new and coincided with the end of the Hawaiian monarchy’s rule in 1893” (Desmond 1999:35). Hawaii was “annexed to the U.S in 1898 despite protests by Native Hawaiians and in 1900 became a territory of the U.S” (Desmond 1999:35). Hawaii was an addition to the “new U.S imperial archipelago” along with Puerto Rico, Cuba, Guam, and the Philippines (Desmond 1999:35). The official discussion of tourism began in 1901 by the Merchants Association in Honolulu and “by 1903, the Hawaiian Promotion Committee was created” (Desmond 1999:35). “By 1899, it was already being dubbed “The Paradise of the Pacific” as Desmond points out through her research (Desmond 1999:39). Tourism had taken root by the late 1920’s. By the end of the 1920’s, tourism ranked third economically after the sale of pineapple and sugar industries (Desmond 1999:4). With air travel affordability during the 1960’s, tourism increased dramatically. In 1968, “visitor tally topped one million and doubled again by 1973” (Desmond 1999:134).

Desmond points out that “the organized development of tourism in Hawai’i was part of a larger European and Euro-American fascination with things “exotic” , an aestheticization of imperialist expansion” (Desmond 1999:37). With the desire to commodify a place and/or a culture requires a need to advertise. There were advertisements linking “Hawai’i to the “glorious Orient”, however, the “native iconography of the hula girl had not yet appeared” in the ads. (Desmond 2009:36). Eventually, mainlander’s ideas about Hawaii and people came through “visual and verbal representations” (Desmond 1999:40). For example, the image proliferated through postcards. The time period between1898-1918 was “considered a golden age for post cards” and the Hawaiian tourist industry was just beginning to emerge (Desmond 1999:43). On the images on the postcards included not only images of nature scenes such as the beach but of hula dancers (Desmond 1999:44). As Desmond asserts, “gradually, the increasingly popular image of the hula dancer came to stand for the distinctiveness of Native Hawaiian culture and thus of Hawai’i” (Desmond 1999:45). “The use of these images would increase in later decades”, says Desmond (Desmond 1999:6).

Both race and gender take a front row seat within this discussion on Hawaii. The tourist industry on the islands created an image of what they wanted to present to the consumer and a female “hapa haole” look was, and still is considered the ideal (Desmond 1999:23). At the time during the emergence of tourism in Hawai’i, the general ideas about “race as a system of bodily based cultural classification” and “Caucasians were ranked at the top of these typologies” (Desmond 1999:38). However, in Hawai’i, the people were exotic, yet safe opposed to “threatening” (Desmond 1999:40). Hawaiians “represented a pastoral vision of harmony with nature” (Desmond 1999:40). Hawaiians were not linked to the “black-white dichotomy and its (for the United States) troubling mixtures” and “were not black or white or mulatto” as Desmond points out (Desmond 1999:51). In contrast, Puerto Rico, under colonialization by the United States “seemed to call for civilizing through “whitening” (Desmond 1999:51). So, the tourism industry’s idea of what an “ideal native” is was “raced” and “gendered” in particular ways: female, not male and “brown,” not “back,” “yellow,” or “red” (Desmond 1999:5).

In Hawaii, female hula dancers are the purveyors of Native Hawaiian culture (Desmond 1999:79). The meaning of gender is an ideal of what a society believes are socially developed roles that people are expected to fulfill. In addition, it includes expectations about what women and men are expected to look like based on the particular culture. In Hawaii, “it is the image of the female dancer that stands for a paradisiacal past, unspoiled by modernity yet willing to be its entertaining hostess” expresses Desmond (Desmond 1999:88). The “hula girl” image is typifies Hawaiian tourism (Desmond 1999:6). Hawaiian scholar and activist Haunani-Kay Trask connects the “links between imperialist visions of soft primitivism and gender” by pointing out, “Hawai’i-the word, the vision, the sound in the mind-is the fragrance and feel of soft kindness. Above all, Hawai’i is ‘she’, the Western image of the Native ‘female’ in her magical allure” (Desmond 1999:11). The image that the industry generates is the “non-threatening hula girl”, “with her dark hair, bare skin, grass skirt, beckoning smile, and graceful gestures over swaying hips, the hula girl image evokes the feminized lushness of the tropics: accessible, hospitable, beautiful, exotic, and natural (Desmond 1999:12). It is this image that “successfully lures six million visitors a year to the islands and is crucial to the islands’ economic survival” (Desmond 1999:13). The tourist industry uses this “destination image” and “cultural difference” to set itself apart from other beach destinations that could be closer to home (Desmond 1999:12). Finally, despite the evidence that women represent Hawaii as a tourist destination, the stereotype image of Hawaiian men is not to be left out of this analysis. For example, in Tahitian dancing, says Desmond, “the solo fire-knife dancer is always male, emphasizing virility, danger, expertise and even painful endurance” (Desmond 1999:25).

As in Hawaii, Bulgarian women play a central role within the tourism industry although in different ways and under very different circumstances. Here I show, using the work of Ghodsee that women continue to dominate the tourist sector even in the highly competitive Post-Socialist job market while arguing that according to many Bulgarians, women are important to the industry as nurturers as they are “simply better” at giving tourists a positive experience (Ghodsee 2005:111). During the communist period up until 1989, the premise of the government was to offer “social and economic justice for all workers and total equality for women” (Ghodsee 2005:4). Some of that equality included a high level of human development such as a free higher education, childcare, and paid medical (Ghodsee 2005:33). In fact, as Ghodsee mentions, “countries of the Eastern bloc were able to boast some of the highest female labor participation rates in the world” (Ghodsee 2005: 34).

In addition, women were able to gain certain levels of capital to succeed in the very competitive tourist industry. Cultural capital for example consisted of extensive language training and a higher education (Ghodsee 2005:14). For example, social capital allowed those who were members of the Communist Party to use connections for job acquisition (Ghodsee 2005:14). Economic capital was acquired as “hard currency” in the tourist sector in the form of foreign tips. It gave people “some financial security in a time of wild economic fluctuation” by allowing people to “purchase rationed goods in the dollar stores where there were shortages in the years immediately following “the changes” (Ghodsee 2005:98-99).

All of these forms of capital were utilized during the communist period but it is the cultural capital that created success stories for those who had acquired it prior to the Post-Socialist period (Ghodsee 2005:14). For example, high levels of education and foreign language training were the keys to those who wanted a position within the industry (Ghodsee 2005:14). However, as Ghodsee points out, “cultural capital was allocated to socialist subjects along specifically gendered lines” (Ghodsee 2005:107). Women tended to be led into “general education” while men were “concentrated in the more technical colleges” (to be able to move into the industrial sector) (Ghodsee 2005:107). According to the research of Ghodsee, there was a “gendered division of labor in favor of the men who primarily worked in this sector” (Ghodsee 2005:107). For those holding cultural capital, particularly higher education and foreign language training, were well suited to move into the capitalist market much more easily than those with social capital (with the death of communism, social capital was useless) (Ghodsee 2005:108). Ghodsee also makes note that “tourism in Bulgaria had a high concentration of women with large amounts of the “good” cultural capital” (Ghodsee 2005:108).

Tourism as an industry “came to be associated with certain stereotypical “feminine” characteristics” (Ghodsee 2005:108). In fact, no one position is “better” suited than another. As Ghodsee explains, “even at the managerial sphere, women claimed that tourism work is feminine” (Ghodsee 2005:111). In fact Hristo, one of the men whom Ghodsee interviewed, “felt that because women had to deal with very small children they were simply more patient and polite with foreigners” (Ghodsee 2005:109). According to Ghodsee, even women had “justified their domination of the sector based on their role as mothers” (Ghodsee 2005:109) Dora, a woman whom Ghodsee interviewed “believed that women have a greater understanding of the tourist’s needs” (Ghodsee 2005:110). Not only do Bulgarians believe tourism is a better fit for a woman in terms of her temperament, but they believe that it also works with their lives better. As Ghodsee explains, “Bulgarians still believe that women have something to do in the off-season (i.e., take care of their families and household responsibilities)” while “men are perceived as having “nothing” to do when the summer or winter season ends” (Ghodsee 2005:113). Even though men began to move into some areas traditionally dominated by women (law, banking, finance, and medicine) due to displacement from other industries, “tourism remained distinctly feminine” (Ghodsee 2005:109).

In Post-Socialist Bulgaria, as Ghodsee explains, there was a new “democratic” concept of femininity appearing in the popular culture, a new gender paradigm for women” (Ghodsee 2005: 109). The advent of capitalism meant an introduction of many Western ideas through “women’s magazines and on billboards around the major cities” (Ghodsee 2005:109). The “new feminine ideal” included according to Ghodsee, things like music videos where “sultry Bulgarian vixens glorified a brand of predatory femininity where a woman’s “love” could be gained only in exchange for expensive cars, clothes, and jewelry” (Ghodsee 2005:109). Importantly, “privatization, employment expansion, and the sudden popularity of tourism degree programs for both young women and men had done nothing to change the socialist measure of tourism as a woman’s sector” asserts Ghodsee (Ghodsee 2005:109).

To conclude, I analyzed two ethnographies on tourism focusing on very distinctly different parts of the world and in different contexts. Like I showed in my discussion on Hawaii, women are central to the image that the tourism industry wants to convey. That image is not only gendered but racialized as well. That image is used in advertising, on postcards, and of course in the infamous luaus. The image, like I pointed out here, is still unfortunately paramount to the success of Hawaii marketing itself as distinct from other, possibly more inexpensive places to travel.

In sharp contrast, in my discussion about Bulgaria, I showed how women are also gendered within the tourism industry but in different contexts. I spoke about how important certain kinds of capital have been important to those in the tourism industry during the socialist years and also how specific capital such as social capital was devalued after the communist years while cultural capital became critical to those in tourism. Finally, I showed that women are culturally considered the purveyors of quality service due to their “natural mothering skills” and that despite a highly competitive Post-Socialist job market, women still continue to dominate the sector. From a personal perspective, I have now added the Black Sea in Bulgaria to my long list of places to see in this wonderful world of ours. However, the opposite has occurred upon reading the ethnography on Hawaii.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

good posts coming soon!

I have some really great ideas for future posts and I hope all of my readers will stay tuned for them after this semester is done.

On a good update note, the professor who teaches Human Origins (the only "missing" class I need to graduate aside from the one I registered for) emailed me and said she is teaching the class it just is not posted yet. Ok, cool beans. I need that one and History of Anthropological Thought. I have that one in my "cart" already.

Paper two is finished. I will make that one a blog post with pics and all. I compared two ethnographies. One was about Bulgarian tourism and one on Hawaii.

Hope to be back once my 20 page paper is done!

Tonight I made a channa curry with veggies and put it in a pie crust pocket. It was awesome!!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Taking a short hiatus

I know I do not write volumes here but what I do write will be on hiatus for about 5-6 weeks. I will not have time to read many other blogs either. Work, school, sleep, eat and get the laundry done and that stuff. I even suspended my movie subscription. That said...play nice kids. I may post papers but not until the grade comes out.



Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Grade for paper 1

Here is the grade/s and the professor's analysis of my paper. I am in a bad mood!! lol Now I am putting this out there for the world to view. :) She is a really really tough grader btw.

Tiffany George “Tourism and Commoditization: A Comparison of Two Ethnographies”
Generally through comparison of the two ethnographies. Good idea to examine the effects of commoditization on race and gender. Discussion of race is relevant and to the point. The addition of a brief explanation of gender is necessary but not sufficient, as the definition is not complete or correct: gender is not just about relationships that men and women have and the sexual division labor. Gender is an idea/ideal, about “masculinity” and “femininity,” in contrast to “real” men and women. Both components – the ideals of masculinity vs. femininity, as well as how this affects men and women -- comprise the study of gender. It was good to do a point by point comparison, but this could have been shortened. Minor writing problems. Title is weak (say something more interesting after the colon). The paper would have benefited from one more revision/edit. Good job on your first grad paper.