CFP: Narratives in English by Women Explorers and Travellers 1700-1940 (France) (9/15/05; 2/3/06-2/4/06)

full name / name of organization: 
bijon
contact email: 
beatrice.bijon@wanadoo.fr

CFP: Narratives in English by Women Explorers and Travellers 1700-1940
(France) (9/15/05; 2/3/06-2/4/06)

INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE
FEBRUARY 3-4, 2006
UNIVERSITY OF SAINT-ETIENNE (FRANCE)

    While 18th and 19th century women were usually confined to the domestic
and national spheres some women indulged their dreams and travelled to
unexplored territories: their journeys to the Orient (Lady Montagu, Lady
Blunt, Gertrude Bell, Amelia Edwards, Freya Stark), to India (Emily Eden,
Fanny Parks), to America (Isabella Bird, Clara Bromley, France Trollope), to
Africa (Mary Kingsley) or to Australia (Daisy Bates) gave rise to
narratives.

    Exploration and travel narratives are texts writing the subject, the
writing subject and on the other hand, the other as subject. Explorations
and travels produced texts writing the meeting with an unfamiliar other. As
well as scientific knowledge, the narratives produced knowledge on the
subject and wrote otherness.
    Far from being monolithic, this mosaic of exploration and travel
narratives follow in the footsteps of the narratives by their male
counterparts. On other occasions, they open up new untrodden paths, and
bring new perspectives which deeply diverge from reference male narratives.
In any case they broaden if not create new horizons in the perception and
the writing of the other.
    ³The other is never outside or beyond us; it emerges forcefully, within
cultural discourse when we speak most intimately and indigenuously between
ourselves² (Homi Bhabha). The focus will be on how the first encounter is
written, the encounter with the same and with the other in exploring, for
instance, the use of figurative language, to produce knowledge and/or
fantasy.
    Even though some of these women explorers did not specifically
subscribed to feminist causes, we may consider to what extent gender
influenced or not their writing and their gaze on the other. Does this gaze
depart from models of interpretation and from binary representations? Does
it produce a discourse fundamentally different, which erases and redefines
the outlines of the narratives produced by male explorers, thus challenging
the latter's possible fantasising? Particular attention should be paid to
the "danger" of essentialism.
    Can we imagine these narratives go further than a mere physical
geography, thus being the exploration of women's places in the world and
their representations? ³The most foreign country is within² (Alice Walker);
to what extent are the narratives the place for self-exploration, thus
revealing these women explorers as subjects?

    A literary and linguistic approach will be favoured. The analysis may be
about genres as diverse as travelogues, diaries or letters, and may be
enriched and supported by images (paintings, sketches, photographs).

Please send a 150-word abstract and a title by September 15, 2005 to:

Béatrice Bijon < beatrice.bijon_at_wanadoo.fr >
Gérard Gacon < gerard.gacon_at_univ-st-etienne.fr >

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Received on Wed Apr 06 2005 - 20:10:30 EDT

cfp categories: 
travel_writing