This conference is intended as the first in a series of events to discuss travel writing in modern history and literature. It is organised by Jana Hunter (University of Oxford) and Christian Drury (Durham University) - please see a call for papers below.
Department of History
Modern Travel, Modern Landscapes
Connections and Exchanges in Europe c. 1850-1950
6th and 7th July 2022
University of Durham
Travel was central to shaping identity in Europe between the mid-nineteenth and mid-twentieth century. Representations of place, as well as personal, cultural and institutional connections, informed and structured travel at this time. Travellers within Europe and from outside shaped an understanding of what Europe was and is in a global, imperial context. As Kate Hill has put it, “under the influence of technological and colonial change, spaces, narratives themselves, and cultural encounters all took on a greater measure of flux as the nineteenth century progressed. The provisional nature of the modern categories of home and away were forged in the nineteenth century”.
This conference calls for papers on travel in this period, especially travel writing which considers landscape and modernity as key themes. Considering travel narratives, both published and private, as well as other texts, images and sources, allows us to consider these historical connections in greater detail, while taking travel as a practice, together with the structuring themes of landscape and modernity, will enrich our understanding of European history in the period.
Modern Travel, Modern Landscapes looks to engage with a rich diversity of subjects including but not limited to: history and history of science, geography and natural sciences, art history and visual culture (photography and film), as well as architecture and urban studies. We are particularly interested in understanding how travel and landscape can be perceived and experienced by an individual. As such, we encourage submissions which explore not only physical travel, but also ‘armchair travel’ through the consumption of the representations of place. We will consider broadly four main themes:
Identities are formed by travel and travel is influenced by identities. In modern Europe, the identity of the traveller, as well as those they travel with, are crucial for thinking about who can travel and where. We welcome submissions that consider these identities of travel, as well as the forms their depictions of travel take and how connections are - or are not - made.
- How does a traveller identify with a place and with travelling?
- Who can travel and where? Who can choose their travel?
- Who claims authority to speak about the place travelled to and through?
- How is Europe represented by travellers from the rest of the world?
- How does the travellee respond? How can hidden or marginalised actors be included?
Travellers need ways of getting to places and their forms of travel affect their representations of place. However, infrastructure is more than transport and we encourage submissions which take a broad approach to discussing the way in which travel was structured and communicated.
- How do different types of travel affect travel narratives?
- Who is a tourist and does it matter? How can we diversify the idea of infrastructure?
- How are travellers influenced by existing discourses?
- What is the relationship between infrastructure and landscape?
Time and temporalities
Time may not be at the heart of travel writing, but it does present itself in a number of different ways. There are a number of ways to read time and temporality in travel writing, encapsulating notions of history, encountered in the environment, or even in terms of progression. We welcome submissions that explore how travellers experienced, perceived, and considered temporalities and in turn, informed their audiences back at home.
- How has time been represented, coded and understood by travellers?
- How do travellers and/or travellees apply meaning to time and temporality?
- To what extent can we consider temporality to be a dimension of travel experience?
- How did encroaching modernity shape ideas of time?
- How was time experienced in different spaces and environments?
Borders and frontiers
A number of different borders and frontiers were crossed by travellers, which not only played into the travellers’ cultural identity and perception of the self, but also fed into the wider understanding of the society and cultures they were encountering. We welcome discussions that explore physical boundaries and frontiers, for example geopolitical and military, but also encourage submissions discussing racial, gender, and sexual frontiers or that focus on how economic, linguistic, national and aesthetic borders were negotiated.
- What different frontiers exist?
- How did frontiers influence identities?
- When, where, and how were frontiers challenged, faced, and crossed?
- Did they create new tensions or categories?
- Are frontiers in opposition to one another?
Please send an abstract of up to 300 words and a short biography of no more than 100 words to Jana Hunter and Christian Drury (firstname.lastname@example.org) by Friday 28th January 2022.
Christian Drury and Jana Hunter
Durham University/University of Oxford