CFP: [Travel] On the Road: Writing Travel and Travellers

full name / name of organization: 
Abhijit Gupta
contact email:

International Conference
November 6-8, 2008, Jadavpur University, Kolkata, India

The Centre of Advanced Study in English, Jadavpur University, invites
abstracts of papers for an International Conference on the theme of travel
and travellers, to be held on 6-8 November 2008. Papers may address any of
the following range of themes, but should preferably be linked to a
particular travel text or texts, whether verbal, visual, or in other
material forms.

• The cultural politics of travel
• Space and place in the experience of travel
• Travel knowledge and power
• Travel and hearsay
• Places, peoples, objects under the traveller’s gaze
• Travel as subjectivity: migrant, exile, nomad, ghumakkad, flâneur, planeur
• Gendering travel
• The travel book: publishing travel, reading travel
• Vagabondage
• Religious travel: pilgrimage, pabbaja, tirtha, yatra.
• Travel, technology, tourism
• Travelling hopefully: the future of travel

Travel places the traveller in relation to the material extent of the
world, instituting a tension between space and place, extension and
location, ‘centre’ and ‘margin’, ‘home’ and ‘away’, ‘us’ and ‘them’. How
does power circulate in and between the spaces connected by the traveler?
What are the economies that enable these encounters? As ‘othered’ space is
viewed and recounted by the traveller, it is absorbed into a larger
cultural imaginary, the space created by historical and creative writing,
hearsay, news and audio-visual images. The ‘rumour’ of a place takes on a
life as vivid as the place itself. The traveller’s experience itself has
been theorized variously, by Deleuze and Guattari (the nomad), Rahul
Sankrityayan (the ghumakkad), Chambers (the planeur), Clifford (the
traveller), Benjamin (the flâneur), and Said (the exile). The writer’s
subjectivity becomes as much a site of investigation as the places s/he
describes. Travel writing has always been among the most popular of genres,
linking travel narratives, the publishing world, the travel industry and
its technologies, and different types of ‘tourist circuits’. In a world
characterized by mobility, the satisfactions sought by sojourners are many
– culture, sex, poverty, spirituality, health, danger, knowledge. Travel
may even be seen as a defining condition of human society. Zygmunt Bauman
observes that as globalization and localization increase, the element of
‘choice’ in movement defines the gap between the global rich and the global
poor – the ‘tourist/ business traveller’ and the ‘vagabond’. In contrast,
there is local diversity: witness the lower-middle-class tourist of India,
traversing by bus on ‘package tours’, or the ‘armchair tourist’ who only
reads about travel. We shall look at these many subcultures of travel, and
reflect on the ‘degrees of choice’ – past, present, and future – of travel
in our world.

We regret that we cannot offer travel assistance, but will provide
hospitality over the days of the conference for most participants.
Email abstracts by August 15, 2008 for responses by September 15, 2008, to:
Rimi B. Chatterjee [] or Abhijit Gupta
[] or Nilanjana Deb [],
Jadavpur University, Kolkata 700032, India

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Received on Fri May 16 2008 - 04:10:49 EDT

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