In contemporary research, travelers are frequently presented as characters who, while being on the road, resonate with but also negotiate culturally specific – individual and collective – discourses of encountering and constructing the foreign and ‘the other’ (including unknown spaces/terra incognita). In encountering the new and unfamiliar, travelers often experience and reflect on themselves, i.e. their (cultural) identity, their relation to the world, and not least their own bodies in new and unexpected ways. However, in contrast to recent approaches to traveling in (visual) anthropology, for instance, the body as a ‘medium’ of travel has so far been largely neglected in literary and cultural studies. This is even more surprising considering the fact that travelers are always also “traveling bodies.” The ‘lived’ body (“Leib”) is, in fact, a central aspect of each travel experience, intricately and inseparably caught up with the psychological and physical experience of traveling.
The editors are part of a larger international, interdisciplinary research network concerned with “Traveling Bodies” and thus, aim at closing this gap with the collection. We want to focus on traveling as an embodied cultural experience and practice, more particularly on the role that bodies play when traveling and, especially, in travel writing. Understanding the body as a “dynamic locus of human thought, action, and language” (Johnson 159) and – in a phenomenological view – as both, lived and physiological, objective body (Gallagher 1986), we propose to look at images, functions, and figurations that bodies and embodiment – including the travelers’ own sensory experience as well as their encounters of other bodies – can assume in historical and contemporary texts concerned with traveling. Aspects and topics to be discussed can include, but are not limited to:
- The body as a medium for the communication and negotiation of social norms and values (including discourses of dis/ability)
- (Bodily) practices of mobility and perception
- Images and (visual) metaphors of traveling bodies (e.g., gendering space in the context of orientalism and colonialism)
- The performance of ‘the body’ (own vs. other)
- Culturally specific body practices and how they challenge traditional notions about embodiment
- Representations of the obstinate or ‘ill-functioning’ body (e.g., the ‘resistant’ body, the power of the body over mind, bodily functions and control, discourses on health and hygiene)
- Limits and delimitations of bodily experience while traveling (e.g., norms and regulations, spatial experiences, thresholds, and borders)
- (Technological) body enhancement or modifications while abroad/ on the road
- Travelers and traveling as expressions of power structures (social, regional, political, sexual, etc.)
We welcome contributions from scholars regardless of their career stage, and encourage submissions from a range of disciplines, particularly those with interdisciplinary approaches to the topic. Please send chapter abstracts of no more than 3,000 characters, accompanied by a brief bio note, to [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected] by May 15, 2019. Accepted authors will be notified by June 15, 2019.
We are currently looking for an international publisher for this collection; therefore, we do not yet have concrete specifications or timelines.Contributions should be around 30,000 characters (excluding footnotes) and the estimated deadline for contributions is September 15, 2019 as we aim for a publication date around summer 2020.
- Gallagher, Shaun, “Lived Body and Environment.” Research in Phenomenology 16 (Jan. 1, 1986): 139-70.
- Johnson, Mark, “What makes a Body?” The Journal of Speculative Philosophy, New Series, Vol. 22, No. 3, Symposium II: Words, Bodies, War (2008): 159-69.