Tourism RESET is a place for professional collaboration and exchange between scholars who are doing work in the areas of race, ethnicity, and social equity in tourism.

Establishing this network of like minded scholars will facilitate the holding of conferences, joint projects and publications, and the connection of research professionals with community and industry groups. RESET is a multi-university and interdisciplinary effort conducted jointly by the Department of Geography and the Department of Retail, Hospitality, and Tourism Management at the University of Tennessee, the Department of Political Science, International Development, and International Affairs at the University of Southern Mississippi, the Hospitality and Tourism Management program at Appalachian State, the Hospitality & Tourism Management program at San Diego State University, Department of Recreation, Parks, and Tourism Management at North Carolina State University,  and the Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies at East Carolina University. Below, are the Research Fellows for Tourism RESET.

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Derek Alderman PhD

Founder & Initiative Coordinator

I am a cultural and historical geographer interested in race relations, public memory, popular culture, and heritage tourism in the U.S. South. Much of my work focuses on the rights of African Americans to claim the power to commemorate the past and shape cultural landscapes as part of a broader goal of social and spatial justice.


Stefanie Benjamin PhD

Initiative Coordinator

Stefanie Benjamin, PhD, CHE is an Assistant Professor in the Retail, Hospitality, and Tourism Management department at the University of Tennessee. Her research interests include social equity in tourism around the intersectionality of race, gender, sexual orientation, and people with disabilities. She also researches film-induced tourism, implements improvisational theater games as innovative pedagogy, and is a certified qualitative researcher exploring ethnography, visual methodology, and social media analysis.

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Alana Dillette PhD

Initiative Coordinator

Alana Dillette is an Assistant Professor in the Payne School of Hospitality and Tourism Management at San Diego State University. Originally from the islands of The Bahamas, she is always trying to maintain her connection to home through research on sustainable tourism initiatives for small island states. Her other research interests include issues around diversity and inclusion, more specifically looking at the intersection between tourism, race, gender & ethnicity. Currently, she is working on research to gain a better understanding of the African-American travel experience.

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Candace Forbes Bright, PhD

Candace Forbes Bright, PhD, is Assistant Research Professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at East Tennessee State University. Bright’s scholarly activities have focused on social learning around identity.

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David L. Butler PhD

David Butler is the Vice-Provost for Research and Dean of the Graduate School at Middle Tennessee State University. Prior to coming to Middle Tennessee Butler spent 16 years at The University of Southern Mississippi earning the rank of Full Professor and launching the Call Center Research Laboratory. Dr. Butler has a doctorate in Geography from the University of Cincinnati, a Master’s of Science in Geography from Texas A&M University, and a Bachelor of Arts from Texas A&M University. Butler’s research includes: contact centers, race and tourism aviation, space, technology, and disaster resilience. Dr. Butler has published over 20 articles and books, given over 50 presentations and has over $2.7 million dollars of external funding on research projects during his career. Butler has also provided congressional testimony and expert testimony on contact centers and the US airline industry as well as being interviewed by national news outlets such as CNN and NPR. For hobbies David likes to spend time with family and friends and run and read.

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Perry Carter PhD

Department of Geosciences, Texas Tech University

My research interests include human, social, urban and economic geography. Specific interests include geographies of consumption, travel and tourism, space and its role in the construction of racial identity, geographic methodologies.

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Matt Cook PhD

Matthew Cook, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor of Historic Preservation and Cultural Geography at Eastern Michigan University as of Fall 2016. He studied cultural and historical geography at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville culminating in his dissertation, "A Critical Historical Geography of Slavery in the US South." Dr. Cook's continuing academic interests build on his dissertation, focusing on geographies of memory, historical interpretation, and race relations in the U.S. His ongoing research project addresses how museums around the country respond to expanding geographies of racism and racial violence. Focusing specifically on African American historical and cultural narratives, the project is part of long-term study that asks, “What is the role of the museum in the 21st century?” and “How do American museums change and adapt their narrative emphases in response to contemporary events?”

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Lauren Duffy, PhD

Dr. Lauren Duffy is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management at Clemson University. Her two major research areas that intersect under the umbrella of critical sustainable tourism: 1) tourism planning and development with a focus on how power dynamics influence stakeholder participation throughout a planning process, and 2) critical pedagogy and global learning.

Her research in tourism planning is informed by a social justice paradigm emphasis on gender and Race in tourism and how power influences the distribution of tourism impacts (i.e., understanding who benefits from tourism development projects). Her work has focused on rural communities in South and North Carolina, as well as contexts in Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa. She is also engaged in research exploring ways to help students to think critically and ethically, while fostering a sense of responsibility to address the grand social and environmental challenges of our time.

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Steve Hanna PhD

Stephen P. Hanna, Professor of Geography at the University of Mary Washington and Fellow of the American Association of Geographers (AAG), holds a Ph.D. (1997) in geography from the University of Kentucky, an M.A. (1992) in geography from the University of Vermont, and a B.A. (1987) in geography from Clark University. He is a human geographer who has been recognized for his research on heritage tourism landscapes, race and the politics of memory, and cartography. His published works on these topics include the co-edited books Mapping Tourism (2003) and Social Memory and Heritage Tourism Research Methodologies (2015). He has also written or co-written numerous articles, often with UMW students, that have appeared in Progress in Human Geography, Social and Cultural Geography, Cartographica, the Journal of Heritage Tourism, ACME: An International E-Journal for Critical Geographies, Historical Geography, Urban Geography,and the Southeastern Geographer. Dr. Hanna is also the Cartography Editor for the AAG and has, along with his students, have prepared more than 100 maps for publication in academic books and journals as well as for news outlets such as the Washington Postand the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

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Patrick Holladay, PhD

Patrick J. Holladay, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor in the School of Hospitality, Sport and Tourism Management at Troy University. His research interests focus on sustainability science, social-ecological resilience, and community development. His work is conducted largely through the lens of tourism but crosses into areas like food security, natural resources and faith/spirituality.

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Leah Joyner

Leah Joyner is a PhD student and teaching and research assistant in the Parks, Recreation, and Tourism department at the University of Utah. Her research is centered in food justice, sustainable tourism, agritourism, and additional food related recreation and leisure experiences. Leah has previously worked with farmers and tourism industry partners on agritourism development projects both in the US and internationally and has been involved in a variety of research projects regarding ethical and sustainable food production, urban agriculture, community food access, and rural tourism. Her current research focuses on the potential for tourism and leisure activities to serve as critical tools in the pursuit of racial equity and social justice in food systems.

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Cliff Lewis, PhD

Clifford is a Lecturer (Assistant Professor) in Marketing at Charles Sturt University. His research focuses on inclusivity within a rural context – specifically considering the LGBTQI+ community. Prior to commencing his academic career, he was the Head of State (NSW) for a global market research company. In that role, he has worked on projects related to regional tourism products, experience and campaign development as well as destination planning. He has completed a PhD in Marketing from the University of Wollongong focusing on destination branding.

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Arnold Modlin PhD

Dr. Modlin is an Assistant Professor of Geography and the Director of International Studies, Service Learning and Civic Engagement at Norfolk State University. He is a cultural and historical geographer who researches the connections of memory, emotions and senses in making and reinforcing racial identities at museums and historic places in the U.S. South and the Caribbean. While seeing race as a social construct, Dr. Modlin sees racism as a reality with sharp teeth. He is currently focusing his scholarly and activist efforts on dissecting and challenging the ways in which racism is recreated and reinforced despite seeming advances in civil and personal rights.

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Amy Potter PhD

Amy E. Potter has a Ph.D. in Geography from Louisiana State University. She is an Assistant Professor in Geography in the Department of Geology and Geography at Georgia Southern University in Savannah, Georgia. Most of her research connects to the larger themes of cultural justice and Black Geographies in the Caribbean and U.S. South where she has conducted extensive ethnographic fieldwork. On the island of Barbuda, she explored the complex relationship between transnational migrants to their common property, while also examining how tourism is transforming Barbudan’s sense of place. Her most recent research examines racialized heritage landscapes in the U.S. South, particularly at plantations and urban house museums. She has published in the Geographical Review, Journal of Heritage Tourism, Historical Geography, Island Studies Journal, and The Southeastern Geographer. She is also a co-editor of Social Memory and Heritage Tourism Methodologies(Routledge).

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Lydia Warren, PhD Candidate

Lydia Warren is a PhD candidate at the University of Virginia in Critical and Comparative Music Studies. She also holds an M.A. in Music from the University of Virginia and a Certificate in Ethnomusicology from the Five College Consortium. Warren uses archival and ethnographic research to show the lived experience of performing and working on Beale Street, a blues music tourist destination and the most visited tourist attraction in Tennessee. As both a professional musician and a scholar, she is passionate about advocacy and equity in tourism and music. In 2019, Warren worked with the Downtown Memphis Commission and Beale Street Management to secure discounted parking for Beale Street musicians, and she is working on a born-digital archive that showcases and preserves the stories of Beale Street musicians in their own words.