Scott A. Lukas is a cultural anthropologist (Ph.D. Rice University), facilitator, author, consultant, and former theme park trainer (Six Flags AstroWorld). He has taught anthropology, sociology, communications, and American studies for twenty-five years at a number of institutions, including Lake Tahoe Community College, Valparaiso University, and the Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz, Germany, and was a visiting research scholar at Stanford University, CUNY Graduate Center, The Library of Congress, and The U.S. Institute of Peace. He was recognized as the top undergraduate professor of anthropology in the United States by the American Anthropological Association in 2005 and was awarded the Hayward Award for Excellence in Education by the California Community Colleges in 2003.
He is the author/editor of A Reader in Themed and Immersive Spaces(2017); The Immersive Worlds Handbook(2012); Theme Park(2008); The Themed Space: Locating Culture, Nature, and Self (2007); Fear, Cultural Anxiety, and Transformation: Horror, Science Fiction, and Fantasy FilmsRemade, (with John Marmysz, 2009); Recent Developments in Criminological Theory(with Stuart Henry, 2009); and Strategies in Teaching Anthropology(2010). His book Theme Park was translated into Arabic. He has written over seventy journal articles, book chapters, and professional publications on topics that include authenticity, branding, technology, education, gender, crime and society, tourism, architecture, world’s fairs, theme parks, themed spaces, ecology, consumption, video games, film remakes, guns and popular culture, automobiles and popular culture, the senses, corporate training, and tiki, among other topics.
He has given over 100 public talks and workshops and provided keynote addresses for Here You Leave Today: Time and Temporality in Theme Parks Conference (University of Mainz); Western Aerosol Information Bureau Conference; Walt Disney Imagineering (Insight/Out); The Poverty to Prosperity Forum (South Lake Tahoe); Staging the Past: Themed Environments in Transcultural Perspectives (University of Freiburg); IAAPA Conference; and SATE Conference sponsored by the Themed Entertainment Association. He appeared in the documentary The Nature ofExistenceand has provided interviews and/or had his research discussed in To the Best of Our Knowledge, Canadian Broadcasting Company, Skift, The Huffington Post UK, Atlas Obscura, AttractionsManagement, The Daily Beast, Slate, The Independent,The Washington Post, Chicago Tribune,Caravan(India), The Financial Times(of London), USA Today, YCTeen Magazine (New York City), Angie Coiro Show (Green 910 AM), and KUNR (Reno, NV). He has worked as a consultant for corporations including Walt Disney Imagineering/Pixar/ABC. His YouTube channel, which features ethnographic observations of numerous themed and immersive spaces, may be located at <http://www.youtube.com/immersiveworlds>
Charlotte Kelly is a DPhil (PhD) student at the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies, University of Oxford, and a member of Balliol College.
Her work focuses on children’s law in Singapore and Malaysia and she is currently researching how the legal construction of the image of the adolescent in Singapore and Malaysia has changed in the span of time from the late colonial period to the present day, and what factors account for these changes. In particular she focuses on what drives legislative change regarding the minimum age at which children/ young women can undertake certain seminal events e.g. marriage.
Her wider interests extend far beyond the law, to the sociology of children’s leisure culture. A late convert to the joy of theme parks, she is particularly interested in how theme parks reflect, reinforce, and manufacture the vision of what a “good” childhood should look like. Her fieldwork affords her the opportunity to visit theme parks across Southeast and East Asia, where she explores how culture transplant of themes e.g. Wild West, works when that theme is not part of local popular culture.
Dr Florian Freitag is an Assistant Professor in American Studies at the Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz. He has written widely on Comparative North American Studies; Transnational American Studies; Popular Culture; Regionalism; Intermediality; Periodical Studies; Theme Park Studies and Performance Studies. He co-leads an inter-disciplinary research group on Theme Park Studies at JGU Mainz.
Agata Kapturkiewicz is a Doctoral Candidate at the Saïd Business School, University of Oxford. Her interests center on startups and entrepreneurship in Asia, especially Japan. Her Master’s research on IT startup communities in Tokyo has been presented during a Project INCAS conference in Waseda University in Tokyo, among other venues.