CFP: Travelling Identities

Symposium
12-6pm, Saturday 18th June
Keynes Library, 43 Gordon Square
Birkbeck College

Proposals Due: 10 April 2011

The traveller is a liminal figure who, in transcending boundaries in space, also challenges ideas of territory and identity.

From Grand Tourists and Victorian explorers to gap-year backpackers and eco-tourists in our own time, the identity and cultural signification of the traveller has proved contentious. “Travel”, declares James Buzard, “acquires its special value by virtue of its differential relation with tourism”, a binary whose boundaries have been both created and policed by the travellers and travel writers whose identity is defined through travel. Yet while the transgressive potential of wilderness journeys and nomadism has long been celebrated, the notion of a ‘pure’ travel experience is problematised by the ideological and historical nexus in which the traveller is inevitably ensnared.
Nonetheless, travel continues to be associated with the possibilities of self-discovery and self-fashioning: the traveller’s outward physical journey has always had an important corollary in the journey inward. By considering the mapping of subjectivity onto the topography of a text, we open up questions about the relationship between self and space.
Travelling Identities is an interdisciplinary symposium which aims to address these issues through the examination of a broad range of historical periods, geographical areas and travel practices. We welcome papers addressing – but not restricted to – the following themes:

  • Nomadism in the transnational age
  • Travel writing and psychogeography
  • Acculturation and cosmopolitanism
  • Self-fashioning and the travelling subject
  • Imaginative landscapes and the poetics of space
  • The author as exile
  • The backpacker and postcolonial ‘baggage’
  • Ex-centricity: travel and non-conformity
  • The ethical traveller and eco-criticism
  • Authenticity, ‘finding yourself’ and the Western traveller
  • Gendered travel practices
  • The tourist, the traveller and class identity
  • Postmodern travel and the uncanny
  • Displaced persons: the migrant as traveller
  • Borders and the traveller’s ability to transgress them

Please send an abstract of 200-250 words to bianca.leggett@gmail.com or alan.mcnee1@btinternet.com for April 10th. Papers should last approximately 15 minutes.

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