ACLA 2018: Bodies in Motion: Gender, Race, and Politics in Travel Narratives

deadline for submissions: 
September 21, 2017
full name / name of organization: 
Shannon Derby, Tufts University; Michelle Medeiros, Marquette University
contact email: 

Travel narratives are unavoidably influenced by the changes in perspectives and new experiences that take place as bodies cross national, political, and cultural boundaries. They also situate the body, particularly the gendered body, within a larger context that ascribes bodily roles and hierarchies through the rhetoric of power and mobility. As Charles Forsdick writes in the recently published The Routledge Companion to Travel Writing (2016), “Travel writing is the most physical of all literary genres primarily as a result of its very subject matter which involves the passage of the body through varying configurations of time and space.” Nearly three decades after the publication of Sara Mill’s Discourses of Difference (1991) and Mary Louise Pratt’s Imperial Eyes (1992), the intersection of imperialism, gender and class continues to inform the theoretical and scholarly engagements that position the body within the field of travel writing studies and this panel seeks to continue that project. We intend to interrogate the relationship between the body, cartography and mapping, and travel narratives and the ways in which the mobilities associated with travel produces gendered and raced subjectivities influenced by national, sexual, and political identities.

This panel solicits papers that focus on the movements of bodies across boundaries both real and imagined. How does mobility and corporeality intersect in travel writing? How does the genre of travel writing problematize gender, race, and mobility? How does travel writing construct various corporeal discourses in which national, sexual, and political identities are mapped onto the body? We are particularly interested in papers that take an interdisciplinary approach to the study of travel writing and literature, and focus on the conjuncture of gender, postcolonial, and mobility studies. 

Interested participants may contact the seminar co-organizers Michelle Medeiros at and Shannon Derby at Please submit abstracts (100-250) words via the ACLA website between September 1-21 (early submission is encouraged).