CFP Encounters: Travel and Tourism in Historical Perspective Symposium, Department of History, Seton Hall University

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Call for Papers

Encounters: Travel and Tourism in Historical Perspective

Symposium, Department of History, Seton Hall University

For centuries, travel and tourism have served as venues through which individuals encounter, articulate, and grapple with notions of difference. Travelers and “armchair tourists” alike engage with the world and learn about distant places—even as the practices of tourism promote forms of knowledge that are often inaccurate and connections that are often more imagined than real. Providing windows to the social and cultural norms of the past, tourism tell us much about the mobility of peoples, ideas, and cultures, but also about global imbalances of power. The spectacle and voyeurism inherent to tourism has led to environmental and economic exploitation and to stereotypical representations of the “other.” Yet tourist practices have also forged new connections and given rise to efforts at historical, cultural, and environmental preservation. Travel guidebooks, photographs, actualité films, newsreels, postcards, and the writings of travelers themselves have worked to control and engineer the representation of the “native” environment, and have thus fashioned imperial propaganda. But tourists and their associated objects do not speak with one voice, and tourism has also served to undermine imperial ambitions. Travelers, tourists, and their material culture evoke carefully crafted but often competing narratives about encountering difference—narratives that then become mobile themselves, developing their own afterlives as those memories of travel are shared in new spaces.

“Encounters: Travel and Tourism in Historical Perspective” is a one day symposium that aims to investigate the social, political, economic, ethical, and historical power of travel and tourism. Some of the questions that this symposium wishes to address are: Are travel and tourism transformative experiences? How do travelers and tourists register and remember their encounters with difference—and how have these representations changed over time? How do souvenirs, memorabilia, and travelogues circulate and facilitate imagination of other people and places? How has tourism contributed to—and undermined—the process of empire-building?

Some possible themes for research papers include the following:

  • Tourism, travel, and identity
  • Heritage, memory, and nostalgia
  • Material culture and souvenirs
  • Empire and colonialism
  • Travel narratives and story-telling

The symposium will be held on Friday, January 26th, at the South Orange, New Jersey campus of Seton Hall University, about a half hour outside of New York City.

We welcome proposals from scholars from all fields interested in the historical implications of travel and tourism including history, literary studies, anthropology, and geography, from the ancient to modern period. Advanced graduate students, early career scholars, and senior researchers are encouraged to apply. Please send a single document containing 1. an abstract of up to 250 words, with a title and 2. a short (one-paragraph) biography, to by November 15, 2017.

The symposium will consist of panels and a roundtable discussion. Seton Hall will provide compensation for travel expenses and meals for all invited participants. For those coming from outside the New York City/Northern New Jersey area we will provide hotel accommodation for two nights.

Please feel free to contact Dr. Sara Fieldston at with any questions.