The inaugural conference of the Travel Research Network will be held at The University of Melbourne, 18-20 July 2012

Keynote Speakers:

  • Professor Mary Louise Pratt, Silver Professor, New York University
  • Professor Renato Rosaldo, Lucie Stern Professor in the Social Sciences, New York University
  • Professor Charles Forsdick, James Barrow Professor of French, University of Liverpool
  • Professor Bill Ashcroft, Australian Professorial Fellow in the School of the Arts and Media at the University of New South Wales.
  • Professor Gail Jones, professor of Writing in the Writing and Society Research centre at the University of Western Sydney

TRAVEL IDEALS: Engaging With Spaces Of Mobility

Travel is an ideal for many people, with more and more members of affluent societies using travel to broaden their education and “expand the imaginative horizons of human potentialities”, as Isaiah Berlin suggests in his 1988 Agnelli Prize Speech, “The Pursuit of the Ideal”. Alternative ideals include the prospect of realizing one’s true potential in a place and a culture where the burdens of class, gender, sexuality, history, politics, religion and language can be renegotiated.

But travel is not only the means to realizing an ideal; the process of travelling can be an ideal in and of itself, with some travellers simply being at home in movement, as opposed to the fixity of a destination. Does this mean that the mere act of leaving “home” is a realization of the ideal? Does the actual experience of travel influence the outcome or is it enough just to be outside the norms and routines of everyday life? How can achievement of the travel ideal be recognized and validated?

The ideal of travel may also be associated with arrival at a planned destination, the moment when the traveller’s gaze alights on the desired objective – to be possessed as an experience or a photograph or a blog entry. Mary Louise Pratt’s seminal work on travel narratives Imperial Eyes: Travel Writing and Transculturation (1992, 2007) provides a framework for analyzing the “appropriating gaze” of colonial territoriality, but is also relevant to contemporary travel in developing regions, as well as various other contexts.

We invite papers (and panels) that focus on either the trajectory or the destination or encompass both, and which will contribute to an overall program that demonstrates the pluralism of ideals in travel writing, cultural tourism and mobility studies. We welcome proposals from various disciplines including anthropology, area studies, cinema studies, creative writing, cultural studies, geography, historical studies, language and literature studies, media and communications, migration and mobility studies, philosophy, postcolonial studies, sociology, tourism, and travel writing and other relevant areas, as well as interdisciplinary approaches.

Postgraduate students are most welcome to submit proposals for papers and panels in the program and there will be activities and sessions designed to address specific research issues for postgraduate students during the conference.

To read more, please visit the Travel Ideals website