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A Global History of Travel: Odyssey to Aeroplane (HI3K2)

Tutor: Dr Guido van Meersbergen
Office: FAB3.73 (Faculty of Arts Building, third floor)
Office hours: Tuesday 11-12 (in person) and Wednesday 11-12 (online). book a meetingLink opens in a new window

Seminar times: Tues 10.00-12.00, FAB1.13; Thurs 15.00-17.00, FAB4.80

[the content on this module page is no longer updated. For the 2023/24 programme, please see MoodleLink opens in a new window.]

This module will run as a full-year 30-CATS option in 2024-25

This final-year 30-CATS option explores the long history of travel and travel writing from the ancient world to modern tourism. Taking a global perspective, the module applies a broad chronological and geographical framework to explore critical themes and concepts in the literature on travel and travel writing, including questions relating to gender, race, Orientalism, colonialism, sexuality, and relations between humans and the environment.

In weekly seminars organised chronologically and thematically, students will follow Asian, African, European, and Polynesian travellers on their journeys across the globe. Engaging with their wonder about foreign lands and peoples or despair about shipwreck and enslavement, we will analyse cultural categories such as the savage and the exotic, and engage with theories about knowledge-making, mental geographies, and representation. Over the course of this module students will develop an understanding of the different forms, traditions and technologies of global travel as well as their effects, including the expansion of economic, religious, and colonial structures, the development of discourses of human difference, and the roots of modern tourism.

This 30-CATS optional module makes use of a range of primary sources, including travel accounts, travel advice literature, maps, and images. Drawing on approaches from history, literature, and postcolonial studies, this module consists of twenty weekly seminars (alternating face-to-face and online) and is assessed 100% through coursework. No special requirements apply but an interest in global history and non-Western sources is recommended.