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What Is Africa to Me Now?

The Politics of Unhappy Returns

Christine Levecq

Accounts of African American journeys to Africa have long functioned as ways to comment on social, psychological, and political conditions at home. This article surveys a number of such works written since the advent of the Civil Rights Movement, and notes that the trend continues, albeit with different emphases. For Maya Angelou in All God's Children Need Traveling Shoes (1986) and Saidiya Hartman in Lose Your Mother: A Journey along the Atlantic Slave Route (2007), the journey leads to a renewed call for solidarity at home and in the world. Conversely, some journalists such as Howard French provide insightful and moving commentary on a continent all too easily subsumed in a discourse of despair; still others, like Keith Richburg, use Africa as a platform for a radically conservative approach to the politics of the global community.

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Dismissive Diaries, Desiccated Journeys, and Reductive Fictions

Sri Lanka in the Writings of Donald Friend, Shiva Naipaul, and Julian West

S. Walter Perera

Sri Lanka remains a popular site for international travelers despite its recent political instability. In examining texts based on sojourns spent in Sri Lanka by Donald Friend, Shiva Naipaul, and Julian West, this article argues that, though supposedly more informed about the island than their predecessors, these visitors from the latter half of the twentieth century eschew enlightened approaches in their writing for those that continue to exoticize, demonize, or stereotype the island's people, culture, environment, and politics. That their backgrounds and countries of origin are dissimilar makes little difference in their attitudes. The narrative strategies that they employ, which are often calculated to attract a certain kind of Western reader, irretrievably enervate their works and render futile the hopes expressed by recent postcolonial critics: that contemporary writing based on travel could lead to greater intercultural understanding between travelers and the local inhabitants that they encounter on their journeys.

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Representation of an Absent Space

Construction of the United States and New York in 1950s and 1960s Czech Travel Writing

Mirna Šolić

Early postwar Czech travel writing was mainly concerned with representations of countries from the newly emerging Soviet Bloc and former European colonies in the developing world. In this way, travel writing played a role in nation building and the creation of new cultural identity. However, following the slow process of political liberalization, the United States became an increasingly visible feature of travel narratives, concomitant with interest and reception of American literature in the second half of the 1950s and throughout the 1960s. While focusing on the analysis of space and articulation of the identities of travelers/narrators, this article tracks the re-emergence of the image of the United States in various types of travel narratives in order to depict a trajectory from the representation of a strictly bipolar world in political reportage from the early 1950s, to its subversion in the travel writing of the 1960s.

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The Poetry of Cities

On Discovering Poems in Istanbul, Sarajevo, and Bratislava

Daniel Xerri

This article discusses how poetry allowed a first-time traveler to three different cities to explore each place and his identity as a traveler. Focusing on Istanbul, Sarajevo, and Bratislava, the article describes the experience of using a poem the traveler finds in each city to serve as a guide to its spirit. By referring to issues related to anthropology, post-colonialism, politics, history, the social sciences, and cultural studies, this article discusses the transformation experienced by the traveler as a result of both a physical and inner journey.

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Traveling “Back” to India

Globalization as Imperialism in Pico Iyer's Video Night in Kathmandu

Malini Johar Schueller

This article teases out the complex intersections between Pico Iyer's Video Night in Kathmandu as an Orientalist travel narrative and as a treatise on the cultural flows of globalization by analyzing the politics of Iyer's adoption of a migrant, cosmopolitan persona as well as his conscious attempt to rewrite the gendered hierarchies of imperialism. It examines the unspoken privileges of whiteness and Westernness in Iyer's adoption of a decentered persona that struggles to overcome (particularly in his chapter on India) being interpellated as “Indian.” The larger purpose of the essay is to interrogate the rhetoric of cultural globalization as beyond the hierarchies of imperialism.

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Cheryl Finley

This article examines the impact of art, performance, and technology on the global transformation of heritage tourism in recent years. Thanks to a series of case studies focusing on sites of memory deemed important to diasporic Africans, this article shows how art, performance, and technology are central to identity formation through an examination of mnemonic aesthetics and practices. Recent changes in heritage tourism have given rise to the establishment of categories such as “tangible“ and “intangible“ heritage as well as the construction of museums, the implementation of walking tours or the promotion of reenactments and ritual performances alongside environmental, volunteer, and virtual tourism. But how do tourists' interpretations of historic sites of memory change when various economic, political, social, and cultural factors converge globally? People seek experiences and outlets that could enable them to cling to those things that are familiar to them, while enabling them to identify with like communities in the midst of ground-shaking social, technological, economic, and political changes. Heritage tourism is one of those social practices that produces a sense of centeredness through a complex negotiation and presentation of memory, art, and performance.

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Sacred Journey to a Nation

The Construction of a Shrine in Postwar Kosovo

Anna Di Lellio and Stephanie Schwandner-Sievers

The site of an infamous Serb massacre of a militant Albanian extended family in March 1998 has become the most prominent sacred shrine in postwar Kosovo attracting thousands of Albanian visitors. Inspired by Smith's (2003) 'territorialization of memory' as a sacred source of national identity and MacCannell's (1999 [1976]) five-stage model of 'sight sacralization', this article traces the site's sacred memorial topography, its construction process, its social and material reproductions, and adds a sixth stage to the interpretation - the 'political reproduction'. Based on ethnographic fieldwork, the commemorative literature emanating from this shrine and on numerous interviews with core protagonists (including former guerrilla) and visitors, the article explores the ways in which the religious themes of martyrdom and sacrifice, as well as traditionalist ideals of solidarity and militancy, are embodied at the site and give sense to a nation-wide celebration of ethno-national resistance, solidarity and independence.

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Have You Ever Been in Bosnia?

British Military Travelers in the Balkans since 1992

Catherine Baker

Tens of thousands of British military personnel traveled in former Yugoslavia as peacekeepers between 1992 and 2007. The settlements where British forces established their military presence and supply chain were conceptually far from former Yugoslavia's tourist sites, but military travelers made sense of them by drawing on the commonplaces of previous travel accounts and the lessons of pre-deployment training. British military travelers constructed themselves as often frustrated helpers in Bosnia who struggled with political limitations on their activities but found satisfaction in improving socio-economic relations at the level of the immediate community. For troops, long otiose periods in a stabilizing and startlingly cheap country engendered a touristic sensibility. This article draws on published memoirs and more than fifty new oral history interviews with British peacekeepers and their Bosnian employees to illustrate how British military travelers drew on, perpetuated, and changed the patterns and representation of British travel to the Balkans.

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Michael A. Di Giovine

It has become a Structuralist truism in the social sciences to state that individuals define themselves by what they are not. It has equally become evident that travel—and particularly the voluntary, temporary, and perspectival type that we call tourism—is predicated on interaction with the Other. Travelogues are particularly salient “social facts” in this regard, for they both index such processes of identity formation, as well as contribute to them. Two edited volumes, Rolf-Hagen Schulz-Forberg's Unraveling Civilisation: European Travel and Travel Writing (2005) and John Zilcosky's Writing Travel: The Poetics and Politics of the Modern Journey (2008) provide compelling examples of how the multifarious and complementary processes of travel and travel writing not only index, but construct, European identity.

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Stacy Burton, Travel Narrative and the Ends of Modernity Reviewed by Nicklas Hållén

Chloe Chard, A Critical Reader of the Romantic Grand Tour: Tristes Plaisirs Reviewed by David G. Farley

Hazel Andrews and Les Roberts, Liminal Landscapes: Travel, Experiences and Spaces In-between Reviewed by Eduardo Chemin

Sharon Ouditt, Impressions of Southern Italy: British Travel Writing from Henry Winburne to Norman Douglas Reviewed by Nathalie Hester

David Picard and Mike Robinson, eds., Emotion in Motion: Tourism, Affect and Transformation Reviewed by Hazel Tucker

Noel Salazar, Envisioning Eden: Mobilising Imaginaries in Tourism and Beyond Reviewed by Jonathan Skinner

Anna Fedele, Looking for Mary Magdalene: Alternative Pilgrimages and Ritual Creativity at Catholic Shrines in France Reviewed by Ellen Badone

Antón M. Pazos, ed., Pilgrims and Politics: Rediscovering the Power of the Pilgrimage Reviewed by Mariano Barbato

Denys Pringle, Pilgrimage to Jerusalem and the Holy Land, 1187–1291 Reviewed by Guy Galazka