Traveling the Urban Landscape--MMLA Permanent Section (Nov 13-16, 2014, Detroit)
Seeking papers for the Travel Writing permanent section panel for the 2014 MMLA conference in Detroit. The overall conference theme is "The Lives of Cities." This panel will focus on travel writing and the urban experience.
Travel writing may generally be said to occupy one of two models: there are stories of adventure/exploration/conquest that feature a traveler in a remote, picturesque, or foreign landscape; and there are narratives that reflect on a traveler's experiences of a "great sites" itinerary. The latter, of course, is most often associated with cities--whose landmarks, cuisine, markets, and people are brought under scrutiny by a writer whose expectations have been shaped by countless guidebooks and other texts outlining the experiences of prior travelers. Cities, in short, are often considered "known" entities even by travelers who have never visited them. This session welcomes proposals that examine--and hopefully complicate--the dynamics of traveling in cities. Papers might investigate, but are not limited to, questions such as: To what degree are travelers' expectations met, challenged, exceeded, or forcibly revised once they arrive in a new city? How does the foreign city impact the identity of the traveler? What are the consequences to cities of tourism? How do cities themselves balance their historic landmarks with "tourist traps"? How has the rise and fall of a given city's importance as a tourist destination affected the lives of its permanent residents? What are the identity politics of traveling in particular cities? This panel welcomes papers on any literary period and any specific city. Please send abstracts of 300 words, along with your name/title/university affiliation/contact information to Andrea Kaston Tange by May 15. Queries welcome.