BORDERS AND CROSSINGS/SEUILS ET TRAVERSES: INTERNATIONAL AND MULTIDISCIPLINARY CONFERENCE ON TRAVEL WRITING
11 – 13 September 2014 – Bolyarski Hotel, Veliko Turnovo, Bulgaria
The Department of English and American Studies, Veliko Turnovo University, Bulgaria, the Centre for Transnational and Transcultural Research (CTTR), University of Wolverhampton, UK, and the Bulgarian Society for British Studies had the pleasure of co-organising the 11th Borders & Crossings/Seuils et traverses International and Multidisciplinary Conference on Travel Writing. The conference was held at the Bolyarski Hotel, VelikoTurnovo, on 11-13 September 2014. The Borders & Crossings conference series began at Magee College, Derry, Northern Ireland, in 1998, and has since visited 7 countries on 11 occasions in its 16-year history, Bulgaria’s medieval capital of Veliko Turnovo being its first venue in Eastern Europe.
The 11th Borders & Crossings Conference brought together over 40 delegates from Albania, Bulgaria, Finland, Greece, Italy, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Poland, the UK, and the USA. Charles Forsdick, James Barrow Professor of French at the University of Liverpool, gave the keynote lecture, “Travel Writing and the Senses.” Forsdick challenged the privileged position of the visual in travel writing and its critical evaluations. He argued that our understanding of travel writing could be greatly enhanced if we approached texts “in the light of a range of the senses, supplementing exploration of the gaze with recognition of soundscapes and smellscapes, and also actively factoring in gustatory and haptic elements.” To explore the implications of his theoretical observations, Forsdick focused, in the concluding section of his talk, on a corpus of travelogues by blind and visually impaired travellers, thus bringing together travel writing and disability studies.
Complementing the keynote address, a special panel entitled “Keywords in Travel,” with papers by Forsdick (“Travel”), Zoe Kinsley (“Margins”), and Kate Walchester (“Motivations”), gave a glimpse of their jointly edited volume in progress, Travel Writing: 100 Key Words, to be published by Anthem Press in 2015.
Two panels (“Eating the Other” I & II) explored questions of food, food tourism, and celebrity cookbooks.
Other areas of inquiry included travel and symbolic places of memory (Efterpi Mitsi), travel and fantasies of political domination (Ludmilla Kostova), and travel and/in the digital humanities (Benjamin Colbert).
The full programme and abstracts of all the papers can be downloaded in PDF here.