CFP: Travel Conference, ca. 1750-1850

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on September 23, 2009

Correspondence: Travel, Writing, and Literatures of Exploration, c. 1750-c. 1850
University of Edinburgh and National Library of Scotland, 7-10 April 2010

Proposals Due by October 1

The University of Edinburgh (Institute of Geography and Centre for the History of the Book), in collaboration with the National Library of Scotland, is pleased to announce Correspondence: travel, writing, and literatures of exploration, c. 1750–c.1850–a four-day, interdisciplinary conference concerned with travel, travel writing, and the associated literatures of exploration.

In bringing together scholarly perspectives from geography, book history, literary studies, and the history of science, the conference seeks to interrogate the relationship between travel, exploration, and publishing in order better to understand how knowledge acquired ‘in the field’ became, through a series of material and epistemic translations, knowledge on the page. Plenary speakers include Elizabeth Bohls (University of Oregon), Joyce Chaplin (Harvard University), Tim Fulford (Nottingham Trent University), and Nigel Leask (University of Glasgow). Proposals for papers on all aspects of travel in the period in question are welcome. Preference may be given to papers which engage with one or more of the following themes:

  • Travellers’ inscriptive practices
  • How, where, when, and why did travellers and explorers choose to record the details of their journeys? In what respects did the mode and style of travellers’ written accounts–whether rough notes, regularised diaries and logs, thematic reports, or letters–discipline their content and reflect their intended purpose?
  • Travellers’ credibility and the veracity of written accounts
  • Given that travellers and explorers were only ever partial and imperfect witnesses, how did they assure themselves–and, through the published versions of their work, their audiences–of the truth? How did their accounts correspond to the things they sought to describe and understand? What were the epistemological bases to travellers’ claims to truth?
  • The correspondence between manuscript and print
  • What were the material and epistemic transformations which turned travellers’ initial notes into completed, published narratives? Which changes and adaptations were considered necessary in making the transition from manuscript to print? How, in a pre-photographic age, were credible illustrations produced in the field, and how did they supplement and lend authority to printed texts?

Proposals of no more than 250 words should be sent to Dr Innes M. Keighren, Institute of Geography, University of Edinburgh, Drummond Street, EDINBURGH, EH8 9XP or by email to innes.keighren@ed.ac.uk no later than 1 October 2009. The organizers hope to have a programme of over twenty papers over the four days of the meeting (including plenary papers). Organizers: Dr Bill Bell, Dr Innes M. Keighren, Professor Charles W. J. Withers.

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