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Karl Schmid

Department/Faculty/Institution: Department of Anthropology, York University.
Degree(s)/School(s): 
PhD (York University); M.A. in Anthropology (University of Victoria).
Email: kschmid@yorku.ca

MCRI Projects: C1: Africa

Background: Karl Schmid currently carries out research in Egypt and Toronto on tourism, spatial control, urban informality, suburbanism, and energy transitions. His ethnography of tourism development in the city of Luxor (Ancient Thebes) involved participant observation with local businesses and people making their living in the informal economy. It reveals how extensive tourism development can marginalize and even criminalize local residents. Another dimension of this work was an exploration of the reshaping of this World Heritage site by multilateral institutions and governments, including the World Bank, UNESCO, UNDP, and the Egyptian government. Prof. Schmid’s archival and corporate research in Cairo, London, and at the Thomas Cook Archives in Peterborough, England, added to an understanding of the transformation of Egypt and Luxor by the Cooks travel company, the dragomans (early tour guides), and travellers arriving in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries.  A recent publication on this subject is “Doing ethnography of tourist enclaves: boundaries, ironies and insights,” in the journal Tourist Studies (2008).

Research Interests: Food production, moral economy of food, energy transition; Public anthropology, anthropology of engagement; Tourism, sex tourism, heritage, development, sustainability; Urban experience, (sub)urbanism, gated communities, fortified enclaves; Narratives of globalization, ethnographic writing, fieldwork methods; Mega-cities; Cairo; desert cities; suburban Canada.

Select Publications:

Schmid, Karl. (2008). Doing ethnography of tourist enclaves: Boundaries, ironies and insights. Tourist Studies, 8(1), 105-121.