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Home and the World in Postcolonial Travel Writing

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Organizer: Abrona Lee Pandi Aden

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Home and the World in Postcolonial Travel Writing

Travel, in the conventional sense of the term, suggests movement from the space of the home to the world outside. The home and the world thus make for two key spaces between which travel takes place. Different concepts of home as place, a sense, a feeling, and such like have been explored by travel writing critiques thus far. Likewise, the world that is being travelled to, the destination, has been conceptualized as a place of explorations, of escape, and also as a place that offers experiences forbidden or inaccessible at home. This seminar seeks to interrogate how travel writing has long dismantled Eurocentric notions of travel that posited the empire as the centre, and the colonies as the periphery. This seminar therefore seeks to explore how postcolonial travel writings from different parts of the world de-centre this genre that had once been a vital and indispensable tool for imperialism.

Some of the key questions this seminar seeks to address are: How does home figure in contemporary postcolonial travel writing? Is there a hierarchical relationship between the home and the world, and if so, does it seek to challenge this hierarchy? Is the home of the writer the centre from where he or she writes/ they write? Even if the world outside the home may sometimes appear more alluring, more desirable, is home still the central point of reference for the writer/s? This seminar thus seeks to explore how the spaces of the home and the world figure in travel writings both in English and those that have been translated into English.

 

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