"Routes and Roots: Identity and Intercultural Exchange in Travel and Tourism"

full name / name of organization: 
Cultural Studies Centre, Departmentof Languages and Cultures, University of Aveiro, Portugal
contact email: 
abarker@ua.pt; sec@dlc.ua.pt

“The universal longing for peace and mutual understanding, coupled with the legitimate aspiration for prosperity and economic development, are common values of humanity shared by all societies. In a global environment marked by rising intolerance and cross-cultural tensions, often exacerbated by the economic divide between nations, tourism can foster spiritual and cultural respect among and between peoples, while creating economic opportunities to benefit disadvantaged populations.” - Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, 29th October 2007

The price of oil fluctuates dramatically, airlines merge and collapse, travel agencies go bankrupt and our carbon footprints deepens, but the hope remains that people will be as addicted as ever to foreign travel. And countries like Portugal, for whom tourism is the biggest driver of the economy, have to believe that this will continue through what promises to be a difficult next few years. In a European context, more and more citizens of this continent are crossing one another’s frontiers, tourist travel often being a prelude to a longer and deeper acquaintance with the visited country. How many trips result in people living, working and retiring abroad? Life-long friendships and intermarriage have often been the consequence of speculative journeys of this kind. We propose to take a multidisciplinary approach to investigating the ways in which travel (as it is famed to do) has broadened the mind, widened horizons and created new opportunities, for both travellers and hosts. Conversely, we are also interested in research into occasions when conflict has occurred and contexts where misunderstanding all too frequently breaks out.

We see the proposed gathering of scholars and tourism professionals as taking the form of 5 possible subsections, addressing issues in intercultural communication, identity formation, representations of the tourist/traveller, the business side of tourism and patterns of leisure behaviour.

1. Communicating in Tourist Contexts

How is communication currently understood in the context of tourism, and how may it be described linguistically and culturally? What global and/or local communication strategies do we see developing in the near future? Does linguistic and cultural interchange keep pace with, and shape, evolving host and visitor relations, forms of travel and travel experiences? This section invites papers on the ways in which intercultural communication is mediated through artefacts, encounters, the internet and translation.

2. Travelling Identities

Taking the stories and adventures of the individual to be at the heart of the tourist experience, we invite contributions on the impact of this experience on the traveller’s perception and (re)construction of self and other. In addition, in this age of mass tourism, the individual is often taken to represent a collective cultural identity, being hosted as such and expected to display shared and typical behaviours attributed to his or her culture of origin. We are thus also interested in the interaction between host and tourist cultural identities, understood collectively, and the exchange and dialogue which results from their encounter. Or not … since it is equally important to explore the processes whereby tourists take their identities with them when they travel and transpose their everyday lives to new spaces, leaving host and tourist culture ‘in tact’.

3. Representations of Tourist Experience

In addition, we are interested in the way travel and tourism have been depicted in the arts. The exhilaration of the foreign, the disorientation of strangeness, the challenge of what is different, instances of valuable cultural exchange recorded, the re-evaluation of ‘home’, all these things have been variously represented in literature, music and the visual arts. This section invites papers on the influence of ‘abroad’ on artist’s creativity, and its presence in their work.

4. Tourism-biz.

Tourism is a business, large-scale or small, which has multiple effects on the socio-economic standing of host communities. Successful tourism ventures are carefully planned for within the host community, and often for specific visitor types. Such planning may involve local investment and development, educational training and re-training initiatives and the construction and dissemination of a destination image. How do these undertakings affect the local community and how do the essentially commercial elements of the tourism business combine to create a desirable effect on the visitor? This section invites papers on the contributions and challenges the tourism business brings to communities as well as the role of marketing, advertising and public relations in creating the tourist experience.

5. Conceptualizing the Holiday

We could hardly debate the topic of tourism without considering the pleasure principle. Their holidays are, for many people, the central events in their working year. The ways people travel and the patterns of their holiday behaviour have been changing since the explosion of mass tourism in the 1960s. For example, airports used to be relaxed places of shopping and other forms of consumption; now they are tense potential trouble-spots, heavy with restrictions, at risk from volcanic ash, terrorist outrages and the vagaries of the weather. The information superhighway makes knowledge of destinations ever more available and planning and paying ever more direct and instantaneous. Social network make the sharing of holiday experience more collective. Even the humble pack of 40 holiday snaps has transformed into a chip bearing 600 photos, digitally available to all. We therefore invite contributions on the sociology and psychology of holidaying.

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It is proposed therefore to hold a two-day conference on “Routes and Roots”: Identity and Intercultural Exchange in Travel and Tourism” at the Department of Languages and Cultures, University of Aveiro, Portugal on the 28th and 29th of June 2012 and we accordingly invite abstracts (maximum of 250 words) for papers of up to 20 minutes duration on any of the topics mentioned above (with an explicit reference to the section in which you wish to give it) , to be received before 15th April 2012. Papers (and abstracts) must be presented in either English or Portuguese; notification of acceptance will be made before the end of April 2012. The names of keynote speakers will be announced presently.
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Conference Enrolment Fee: 130 Euros
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Payment can be made by bank transfer to “Universidade de Aveiro”, account nº 0035 0836001785230 (SWIFTCODE: CGDIPTPL; IBAN: PT50003508360000178523070) or by eurocheque made out to “Universidade de Aveiro” and sent to the organisers:

Anthony Barker, Gillian Moreira, Timothy Oswald,
Department of Languages and Cultures,
University of Aveiro,
3810-193 Aveiro,
Portugal.

E-mail: abarker@ua.pt ; gillian@ua.pt ; tim.oswald@ua.pt
Dept. fax: 00 351 234 370940
Dept. tel: 00 351 234 370358
Dept. e-mail: sec@dlc.ua.pt

cfp categories: 
cultural_studies_and_historical_approaches
ecocriticism_and_environmental_studies
ethnicity_and_national_identity
interdisciplinary
travel_writing
twentieth_century_and_beyond