Conference 2006

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Rites of Passage: Exploring changes in the travel motif

Though travel has always been a recurring theme in writing, it emerged as a significant motif in the 18th and 19th centuries, not only in literature but also in philosophical and political discourse. This was a reflection of the large-scale migration of people unleashed by the process of industrialisation and colonisation as also of the beginnings of travel as tourism for the leisured classes.

The transformation of the world over the last two centuries has witnessed the ‘massification’ of travel, both as mass tourism and in the explosive increase in migration. Both these forms of ‘massification’ have seen unprecedented expansion with the onset of the postcolonial era and particularly in the contemporary times of globalisation. This expansion has been driven particularly by modern technologies of travel and the media, but more generally by the social, economic and political conditions that emerged in the last century and then in the postcolonial world. While this process has included a redefining of borders, it has also sedimented the divides that existed between and within societies, albeit in new ways. The temporary escape or displacement of the traveller as tourist and the more permanent escape or displacement of the traveller as migrant reflect and are linked by these divides.

Travel as a motif has been deployed in a variety of modes: as real, imaginary and virtual travel, as time travel and as travel in hyperreality. But it has always also been concerned, in one way or another, with constructing notions of the Self and the Other, or of utopian and dystopian worlds. In what ways have these notions changed? And how are they reflected in the motif of travel?

The seminar will bring together scholars from different disciplines to reflect upon the changes in the motif of travel and explore the artistic forms with which writers and other artists have sought to engage with them.



Friday, 3 March 2006, Room 22, Conference Centre, University of Delhi

9.30 am

Opening Remarks

Shaswati Mazumdar, Kusum Aggarwal

9.45 am

Maria Luísa Leal

The European Borders and the Negation of Travel: From the Strait of Gibraltar to the Channel Tunnel

10.30 am

Nandini Chandra

The Pedagogic Imperative of Hindi Travel



Chair: Vibha Maurya

11.15 am



11.30 am

Remo Ceserani

The Impact of the Train on Modern Literary Imagination

12.15 pm

Thomas Schwarz

Performance of Imperial Power in First Contact Situations: Robert Müller's "Tropics. The Myth of Travel" and Ethnographic Discourse



Chair: Alok Rai

1.00 pm



2.00 pm

Rupen Guha Majumdar

To Provincetown, Cape Cod: Notes on Self-Reliance at the Periphery of a New World

2.45 pm

Arunima Paul

Traveling the Past: Dislocating Foundational Narratives in Carlos Fuentes’ The Campaign

3.30 pm



3.45 pm

Debjani Sengupta

Migration, Exile and the Journey of the Self in Partition Stories from Bangla

4.30 pm

Denys P. Leighton

Some reflections on authorial authenticity and cultural interlocution

5.15 pm

Patrizia Raveggi

Travel, gaze and writing: Travel literature in Italy



Chair: Anil Bhatti

 Saturday, 4 March 2006, Room 22, Conference Centre, University of Delhi

9.30 am

Nishant K. Narayanan

Oh! Calcutta: Günter Grass’ Passage to India

10.15 am

Swati Acharya

Returning the Euro-imperial gaze:

Travel Writings of Pandita Ramabai

11.00 am



11.15 am

Maya Joshi

Travelling Light: Rahul Sankrityayan's Autobiography and the Question of Location

12.00 pm

Jyoti Sabharwal

The Anatomy of a Forced Journey: Willy Haas and India

12.45 pm

Olivia Balanescu

Migrating to the Metropolis: Diasporic Identities in Salman Rushdie’s “The Satanic Verses”



Chair: Abhai Maurya

1.30 pm



2.30 pm

Elizabeth Thomas

The traveller in the city in Dickens’ Dombey and Son

3.15 pm

Antara Datta

Writing Travel: Reading VS Naipaul and Bruce Chatwin

4.00 pm



4.15 pm

Margit Köves

Travel by Jumps: The Poetics of Travel in Béla Balázs’s Tales

5.00 pm

Sabine Grosser

‘REMAKES OF TRAVELLING’- Reflecting the Conditions of Travel Photography in the Digital Medium



Chair: Sharmishtha Lahiri

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