Information for

Karla Boluk

Assistant Professor
Karla Boluk

Contact information

Office: B.C. Matthews Hall (BMH) 2212

Phone: 519-888-4567, ext. 34045


Research interests

I use a critical lens in my research to examine the social impact commitments of tourism businesses. Additionally, I challenge the dominant discourse in higher education. Specifically, my research explores ways to sustainably engage and empower communities in poverty eradication, positioning tourism as a mechanism for the creation of positive change. My current research projects in these areas include exploring mechanisms Fairmont Mara Safari Club in Maasi Mara, Kenya have activated to determine desirable outcomes for their communities; an examination of the social impact of a local volunteer tourism organization called New World Community and CLOUD projects, a cross-country case study comparison of social entrepreneurs (in South Africa, U.S., Ireland), and an examination of how critical pedagogy following Freirean philosophy can be implemented into Tourism curriculum. Demonstrating the intersection between my two passions for social responsibility and critical pedagogy I have co-created two brands at the University of Waterloo including the Big Ideas Challenge and Hack4Health.

Graduate supervision and student opportunities

I am currently accepting applications from graduate students with related research interests:

  • Ethical consumption in tourism
  • Socially responsible tourism/fair trade tourism
  • Social entrepreneurship/Corporate Social Responsibility
  • Critical and innovative pedagogy
  • Critical Theory

Graduate studies application details

Teaching interests

  • Responsible tourism
  • Critical consciousness, and problem-posing pedagogy
  • Citizen engagement and activism
  • Bridging theory with industry engagement


REC 480 Advanced Seminar in Tourism, Well-being and Community


BA (Brock)

PhD (Otago, New Zealand)

PDF (Dalarna, Sweden)

Selected publications

See Google Scholar for full list of publications.

Boluk, K. & Carnicelli, S. (2015). Activism and critical reflection through experiential learning. Journal of Teaching in Travel & Tourism, 15(3), 242-251.

Boluk, K., & Mottiar, Z. (2014). Motivations of social entrepreneurs: Blurring the social contribution and profits dichotomy. Journal of Social Enterprise10(1), 53-68.

Weeden, C., & Boluk, K. (2014). (eds.) Managing Ethical Consumption in Tourism. London: Routledge.

Boluk, K. (2013). Using CSR as a tool for development: An investigation of the Fair Hotels Scheme in Ireland. Journal of Quality Assurance in Hospitality & Tourism, 14(1), 49-65.

Engström, C. and Boluk, K. (2012). The battlefield of the mountain: Exploring the conflict of tourism development on the three peaks in Idre, Sweden. Tourism Planning and Development9(4), 441-427.

Boluk, K. (2011). Fair Trade Tourism South Africa: A pragmatic poverty reduction mechanism? Tourism Planning and Development8(3), 237-251.

Boluk, K. (2011). In consideration of a new approach to tourism: A critical review of fair trade tourism. The Journal of Tourism and Peace Research1(3), 27-37

University of Waterloo