Scribner Seminar Program
Travel Writing and Gender: Identity, Place, and Power
Instructor(s): Adrienne Zuerner, World Languages & LiteraturesWhat does travel writing have to do with identity, knowledge, and power? Focusing on women's travel writing during two distinct historical periods, student will read representative narratives from the period of "high imperialism" (mid 19th-early 20thc.) when European women recorded their voyages to Africa and the Middle East. These travel narratives will serve as a point of departure for examining the multiple and sometimes conflicting relationships between place, politics, and identity. Students will also study the ways in which these narratives serve today as evidence in a range of disciplines, including history, geography, women's and postcolonial studies. Turning to the contemporary period, we will read travel narratives by "Other" women, typically silent in colonial travel accounts, who speak of their experience of boundaries, dislocation, and exile. We will ask what location and identity mean in the era of globalization. Throughout, this seminar will encourage students to analyze and interrogate the perceived oppositions between colonizer/colonized, self/other, home/elsewhere center/margin taking into account how other features of authorial identity, including class, ethnicity, and sexuality, shape women's travel experiences and narratives.