Thomas S. Bremer, Ph.D., writes about religion and tourism, especially in regard to national parks, as well as other topics. His graduate training at Princeton University was in the history of religion in America, and his research has focused on the historical intersections of religion and tourism, considering how visitors find meanings and build identities in their travel experiences. He has thought a long time about religion, place, identity, and travel.
His first book Blessed with Tourists: The Borderlands of Religion and Tourism in San Antonio recounts the history of San Antonio, Texas, as a travel destination, with chapters on the history of the Alamo as a tourist site and on the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park. His second book, Formed from this Soil: An Introduction to the Diverse History of Religion in America tells a global story of American religious history with a focus on the diverse sacred traditions and practices that have existed on American soil from its earliest days. His other publications are listed on his curriculum vitae.
Reviews of Blessed with Tourists:
“This book is at once a fine biography of the evolution of an interesting American city and a revealing case study of the many links between religion and tourism and how modern market forces and the production, consumption, and expression of religion influence each other in so many ways. The subject is wonderful, the research is impeccable, and Bremer writes elegantly and accessibly.”
–Edward T. Linenthal, University of Wisconsin Oshkosh
“Bremer does an excellent job of explaining the conflict among local residents, religious practitioners, and tourists. If you are planning a trip to San Antonio or want to know more about the Alamo City, get a copy of Blessed with Tourists.”
—Mexia Daily News
“Successful in examining a number of emerging themes in the study of religion and tourism, including the intersection between religion and capitalism, the production and consumption of religious sites by pilgrims and tourists, the process of resolution of contested interpretations of sacred sites, and secular interests in sacred sites.”
—The Professional Geographer
“The book is well written and accessible to a large audience and addresses current issues in American cultural studies, such as race and class. . . . Scholars . . . will find this book impressive and helpful for thinking about the relationship between religion and tourism.”
—Journal of American Folklore
Review of Formed from this Soil:
“Bremer’s text combines features that classroom teachers desire – including a clear chronological narrative as well as images and sidebars on fascinating historical characters and questions – along with provocative challenges to conventional ways of thinking that students will bring to courses. The result is a text that should receive wide usage.”
–Paul Harvey, University of Colorado
Dr. Bremer’s current project involves the history of religions related to Yellowstone National Park. His interest in Yellowstone is a natural outgrowth of his earlier research on the national park in San Antonio, but it also stems from his own experiences visiting and working in the park.
In addition to his writing and historical researches, Dr. Bremer teaches American religious history and various other courses in the Religious Studies Department at Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee.
[The “hot springs” emoji ♨ suggests to me the first national parks (Hot Springs in Arkansas, and Yellowstone in Wyoming), but also the origins of life in superheated ancient environments. Plus it has a more personal meaning, but I save that only for those closest to me.]