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At the Threshold to the New World

Equator Crossings, Sunsets, and Claude Lévi-Strauss’s Tristes Tropiques

Michael Bies

Abstract

This article deals with representations of equator crossings in travel literature. Focusing on the accounts of European travelers to Brazil, it considers descriptions of crossing-the-line ceremonies that were performed on board ships since the sixteenth century and shows that, since the late eighteenth century, writers have increasingly staged crossings of the equator as an individual and private experience. Furthermore, it addresses the relation of travel and knowledge that descriptions of equator crossings establish by referring to distinctive epistemological approaches to the New World and by producing a “liminal knowledge” characteristic of travel narratives. The article draws on travel literature from the sixteenth to the twentieth century, paying special attention to the postromantic description of an equator crossing in Claude Lévi-Strauss’s famous memoir Tristes Tropiques.

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Book Reviews

Johannes Görbert, Russ Pottle, Jeff Morrison, Pramod K. Nayar, Dirk Göttsche, Lacy Marschalk, Dorit Müller, Angela Fowler, Rebecca Mills, and Kevin Mitchell Mercer

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A Brief History of Smart Transportation Infrastructure

Kathleen Frazer Oswald

Abstract

This article argues that smart transportation—understood as convergences of communication and transportation infrastructure to facilitate movement—has long been manifested in what John Urry has described as nexus systems, or those that require many elements to work synchronously.1 Understanding smart infrastructures as those aligning with twenty-first-century sensibilities concerning technology, convenience, safety, and security, I demonstrate a longer trajectory for this seemingly new trend in three cases: (1) the synchronization of the train with the telegraph, (2) the organization of early automobility, and (3) information-rich/connected automobility and the driverless car. Rethinking smart infrastructure historically reveals a long-existing tendency rather than a new one to manage movement via communication technologies.

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Editorial

Peter Merriman, Georgine Clarsen, and Gijs Mom

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Governing Global Aeromobility

Canada and Airport Refugee Claimants in the 1980s

Bret Edwards

Abstract

This article surveys Canada’s regulatory response to global aeromobility in the late twentieth century. It examines the Canadian state’s strategies to restrict the movement of refugee claimants landing at airports during the 1980s and the national discourse around this process. Mass air travel enabled more refugees, particularly from the Global South, to travel to Canada and, in the process, challenged how the country governed aerial and cosmopolitan populations. In response, Canadian authorities erected an enforcement regime at the country’s international airports, which transformed them into contested entry points to national space and normative citizenship where links between mobility, borders, and nation were simultaneously reinforced and contested. This article thus provides an integral case study of national ambivalence toward global aeromobility in the late twentieth century.

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Itinerant Knowledge Production in European Travel Writing

Introduction

Florian Krobb and Dorit Müller

Abstract

Travel is a special form of human mobility that is subject to different historical conditions and one that, deliberately or not, always entails knowledge acquisition and knowledge transfer. Travel facilitates the encounter with peoples, ideas, and material artifacts. In the age of Enlightenment, the nexus between travel and knowledge gained a new intensity, as the movement beyond the known turned into a specific scientific project with manifestations in theoretical reflection as well as literary practice. In the special section on Travel Writing and Knowledge Transfer contributors from the fields of Literary and Travel Studies investigate how human mobility gains epistemic significance in the exploration of nature and foreign cultures. The articles focus on conditions and forms of knowledge production while traveling (itinerant knowledge). They analyze how observations, experiences, and reflections made on the move are molded and transformed in fiction and nonfiction, and they discuss the impact on European cultural and intellectual horizons.

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Knowledge, Travel, and Embodied Thought

Restlessness in Herder’s Journal of My Voyage in the Year 1769

John K. Noyes

Abstract

In this article I examine Johann Gottfried Herder’s Journal of My Voyage in the Year 1769 as a radical experiment in travel writing. Herder understands travel as an alignment of the mobility of the mind with the mobility of the body, and the task of the travel writer (and the traveling reader) is to use language to explore this alignment. The experiment of 1769 was intended as a continuation of his studies on epistemology, which had been intent on finding an alternative understanding of knowledge to the dominant trends of the day, idealism and empiricism. Language and its actualization in reading and writing are the foundation upon which knowledge transfer can be built, and the Journal is an attempt to demonstrate how knowledge transfer is possible.

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Motorcycling in 1980s Athens

Popularization, Representational Politics, and Social Identities

Panagiotis Zestanakis

Abstract

Between the late 1970s and the early 1990s the number of motorcycles circulating in Athens almost quadrupled. This article examines the spread of motorcycling during the 1980s as a social, cultural, and political phenomenon. By examining representations of motorcycling as a deviant lifestyle, the article focuses on the strategies used to stigmatize bikers. Moreover, it describes the popularization of motorcycling and explores how public anxiety about it led to the emergence of new associations such as the motorcycle clubs. Finally, it argues that motorcycling represented a male lifestyle not completely inaccessible to women, a development that testifies to greater flexibility regarding contemporary gender norms and preferences.

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New Mobilities, Spaces, and Ideas to Market

European Travel Writers and the Making of a Genre—Comment

Steven D. Spalding

Abstract

This comment on the special section “On Travel Writing and Knowledge Transfer: Itinerant Knowledge Production in European Travel Writing” examines the section’s contributions in terms of the project called for in the section’s introduction. What new kinds of knowledge are produced in the context of the ever-increasing mobility of European travelers from the sixteenth century forward? What are the discursive conditions within which knowledge is constructed in and through travel narratives—including discourses of selves and others, of cultures and nations? How does mobility shape knowledge production, as narratives of journeys across the oceans develop into a full-blown genre with ever-greater stakes for travelers, readers, and nations? The four case studies in the special section offer insightful snapshots from the history of European travel writing—with a special emphasis on German authors—that resonate with major themes from travel writing studies and critical studies more generally, from Romanticism to the colonialist or imperial gaze.

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Reconstruction--Fiction--Transfer

Imparting Ethno-aesthetic Knowledge in John Hawkesworth’s Report on Cook’s First Voyage to the South Pacific (1768–1771)

Sebastian Kaufmann

Abstract

Artistic practices in ethnological knowledge transfer can be found in the well-known account of James Cook’s first voyage (1768–1771) by John Hawkesworth (Account of the Voyages […] in the Southern Hemisphere, 1773), which shows that such travel accounts are not only vehicles of knowledge transfer but also means of knowledge (re)construction, and at times this process of remolding knowledge extends to a rewriting that includes elements of fiction. Hence, the article will draw on the material assembled by Cook and Joseph Banks in their Endeavour Journals to identify in Hawkesworth’s examples of (ethno-aesthetic) knowledge construction and “invention.” A comparison of the different types of texts is rewarding not least because Hawkesworth’s account strove to present the new knowledge to a broader audience. An identification of Hawkesworth’s departures from his sources facilitates the reading of the act of knowledge transfer as a process of knowledge transformation.