CFP: Encounters with Difference, a conference on travel writing and gender

Confirmed speakers: Carl Thompson (St Mary’s University), Churnjeet Mahn (University of Strathclyde), Dúnlaith Bird (Université Paris 13)

Travel Writing is centrally concerned with narrating encounters with difference. This conference seeks to further the discussion of how gender influences these encounters and the writing thereof. While recent years have seen renewed scholarly interest in travel writing and in questions of gender in the field, we believe there are still crucial questions to be asked about the gendering of travel and travel writing. We are interested in addressing questions such as: How does gender interact with and modulate other kinds of difference, particularly cultural or racialised difference, in these texts? How are processes of othering, racializing, and gendering mutually implicated in travel writing? Do encounters with others trouble writers’ own identities – including gender identities, as colonial or imperial subjects, of European supremacy – or are these troubling encounters neutralized by recourse to other forms of difference, such as race? What part does gender play in different kinds of travel writing, and in writing from different locations and cultures?

Furthermore, we seek to ask how gender defines and shapes travel writing as a (hybrid) genre: How is and were definitions of travel writing gendered? How does and did gender play into questions of authenticity, fictionality and the proper scope of travel writing? Does or should travel writing include the narration of forms of travel such as forced migration, and how might this change the field?

We welcome papers from scholars of all fields interested in travel writing, including literary studies, art history, geography, ethnography and history. The conference will be held in English, but papers on travel writing in any and all languages are welcome. We invite papers on travel writing, particularly from the 18th–21st centuries, that engage with all questions of gender and difference. Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Gender and the definition of travel and travel writing
  • Space, place, mapping and gender
  • Travel writing as nature writing
  • Travel writing as a hybrid genre, e.g. political discourse in personal correspondence
  • Relations between authenticity, fictionality and hybridity
  • Gender and the reception of European travel writing outside Europe
  • What is the role of gender for non-European travellers? Is the intersection of gender and imperialism relevant?
  • Queering travel writing and the study of travel writing; travel writing and sexuality
  • Gender and travel photography
  • Travel writing, gender and affect
  • Travel writing, gender and forms of authority accruing to writers and travelers through travel writing
  • Gender and the forms of knowledge and social commentary articulated in travel writing
  • The significance of travel writing for knowledge production through history

Please send proposals for either single 20-minute papers (abstract approx. 250 words, plus short bio and institutional affiliation) or panels of 3 papers (brief description of panel theme plus 3 abstracts) to by 15 June 2017.

Contact Info:

Gigi Adair (University of Potsdam), Lenka Filipová (Freie Universität Berlin) and Camille Barrera (Freie Universität Berlin)