Aconcagua: The Invention of Mountaineering on America’s Highest Peak
Joy Logan
2011, University of Arizona Press
264 pages, plates

DIFFERENT forms of tourism have become an important focus of study in a range of disciplines, not least becuase of what they tell us about the tourist as well as the host nation. Ecotourism, for example, has become an obvious target of research because of its potential to support forms of sustainable development that can help some communities diversify their livelihoods but also because of the potential risks it also brings with it for fragile environments. Historical research in the Americas has also traced the invention and evolution of different forms of tourism as expressions of either modernity or of imperialism. Aconcagua in Argentina, the world’s tallest mountain outside the Himalayas and the highest peak in the Americas, has been the destination for intrepid mountaineers since the 19th century and in recent decades has been the site of considerable “adventure tourism”. This historical development has been shaped by, but also has shaped, the narratives of local indigenous communities. Joy Logan examines this historical development, arguing in a convincing and interesting book that the mountain is emblematic of the many tensions produced by modernity, and has been an important site for the clash and interaction of attitudes towards the national and the global. – EC