Michael A. Di Giovine is Assistant Professor of Anthropology in the Department of Anthropology and Sociology at West Chester University of Pennsylvania (USA), and an Honorary Fellow in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Michael earned his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago with a dissertation examining pilgrimage, heritage and revitalization associated with the Catholic cult of St. Padre Pio of Pietrelcina.
A former tour operator, Michael’s research in Italy and Southeast Asia (Vietnam and Cambodia) focuses on global mobilities (tourism/pilgrimage, and immigration), heritage, development, foodways, and comparative religious movements. The author of The Heritage-scape: UNESCO, World Heritage and Tourism, as well as articles focused on the practices and the ethics behind the heritage and tourism fields, Michael has also co-edited the forthcoming volumes, Edible Identities: Food as Cultural Heritage,The Seductions of Pilgrimage: Sacred Journeys Afar and Astray in the Western Tradition, and Tourism and the Power of Otherness: Seductions of Difference. The Book Reviews Editor of Journeys: The International Journal of Travel and Travel Writing, Michael sits on the academic board of the Journal of Tourism and Cultural Change, and the International Journal of Religious Tourism and Pilgrimage, and is a founding member and trustee of both the Tourism-Contact-Culture Research Network and the American Anthropological Association’s Anthropology of Tourism Interest Group, of which he is the Program Chair. He also sites on the American Anthropological Association's Presidential Task Force on Cultural Heritage, and is a consultant for museums and heritage sites.
Michael has written and spoken widely on issues concerning UNESCO, world heritage sites, museums, historic preservation, pilgrimage, development, and the uses of tourism as a placemaking strategy. He is currently researching the impact of tourism and heritage on the revitalization of Pietrelcina, Italy and the surrounding province of Benevento.
*** N E W S Highlights ***
September 22, 2016
Michael Di Giovine explains the diverse forms of devotion to Catholic saint and stigmatic, Padre Pio of Pietrelcina, in an article in the Boston Globe. In honor of the saint’s feast day of September 23, the heart of Padre Pio was extraordinarily sent to Boston for veneration—the first time a bodily relic of Padre Pio has left Italy. Di Giovine offers an explanation of why Boston was chosen.
June 26, 2016
Michael Di Giovine was elected to the board of the American Anthropological Association in one of the largest voter turnouts in the association's history. Di Giovine will serve as on the Nominations committee as the cultural chair.
March 20, 2016
Members of the American Anthropological Association's Anthropology of Tourism Interest Group (ATIG) elected Michael A. Di Giovine as the organization's next Convenor. The founding convenor, Quetzil Castaneda, will finish his term in November.
October 21, 2015
The Seductions of Pilgrimage: Sacred Journeys Afar and Astray in the Western Religious Tradition, has published today! See what people are saying about the book here!
September 23, 2015
On the feast day of St. Padre Pio, Michael Di Giovine talks about the growth and development of Padre Pio's shrine of San Giovanni Rotondo, and the importance of religious kitsch in "Miracle Towns: Where Plastic Junk Becomes Holy Relics" in the online magazine, Atlas Obscura.
October 29, 2014
Michael Di Giovine was featured on WCHE's weekly radio show, "Passing Time with Dr. Rob," where he discussed museum studies, psychedelic drinks as cultural heritage, and research with Padre Pio, with Chester County Historical Society President Rob Lukens!
Edible Identities: Food as Cultural Heritage, co-edited by Ronda Brulotte and Michael A. Di Giovine, has been published by Ashgate! See what people are saying about the book here.
January 15, 2014
Tourism and the Power of Otherness: Seductions of Difference, co-edited by David Picard and Michael A. Di Giovine, has been published by Channel View Press! See what people are saying about the book here.
November 2013in an interview with The Vacationer.
Michael Di Giovine is appointed to the American Anthropological Association's Presidential Task Force on Cultural Heritage, and is elected Program Chair of the newly formed Anthropology of Tourism Interest Group (ATIG).
April 2, 2013
Michael Di Giovine speaks with Jerome McDonnell of Chicago Public Radio's Worldview (WBEZ FM) on the politics and logistics of a UNESCO designation. Listen to the podcast here.
August 13, 2010
Michael Di Giovine interviewed on NTR24 TV, Benevento, Italy, on Padre Pio, pilgrimage, and revitalization in Pietrelcina, during the celebration marking the 100th Anniversary of Padre Pio's ordination.
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Michael Di Giovine's monograph, The Heritage-scape: UNESCO, World Heritage, and Tourism, was published by Lexington Books on November 15, 2008.
Praise for The Heritage-scape
This is the most thorough and sophisticated examination of the UNESCO heritage system to date. ... Although he examines events and monuments of Southeast Asia, especially Cambodia, and in Italy, especially Tuscany, in ethnographic detail, his knowledge of the heritage-making process is encyclopedic and critical. This is a book to be enjoyed for its timeliness, its revealing anecdotes, and its attention to contemporary social theory.
- Nelson Graburn, University of California, Berkeley & London Metropolitan University
Debates continue to rage about the economic, political, and socio-cultural significance attached to, and conferred by, the UNESCO designation of "World Heritage." What Michael Di Giovine achieves in this important book, through detailed research and critical theoretical reflection, is grounding these debates in a comprehensive and compelling examination of the motivations, processes, networks, and people which not only shape the meanings of the past but which also project into the future. ... This is clearly an essential book for all interested in the relationships and meanings which lie behind, and are generated by, the notion of World Heritage.
- Mike Robinson, Director, Centre for Tourism and Cultural Change, Leeds Metropolitan University
“The Heritage-scape: UNESCO, World Heritage and Tourism is a valuable compendium and very useful for those like ourselves who have worked near or in relation to World Heritage Sites. ... The book is worth bringing to people's attention.”
- James Fernandez, Professor of Anthropology and of Social Sciences, University of Chicago