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HIST3150 Travellers’ Tales

Module Overview

This module introduces students to some of the ways in which historians use travel literature as a source. It draws on a broad range of examples to explore representations by ‘foreigners’ of societies and cultures with which they are unfamiliar, and also considers what such observations reveal about the particular narrator.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

• introduce you both to ways in which travellers’ accounts can be studied as a historical source and to the historiographical debates surrounding their use • encourage you to think about travellers’ accounts as means by which wider political, social and cultural histories can be explored • provide you with opportunities to explore travellers’ tales through a variety of case studies and a range of historical periods

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • the complex relationship between the observer and the observed
  • a variety of critical discourses on travellers’ representations and reflections
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • work independently
  • articulate clear and convincing arguments in both oral and written form
  • demonstrate interpersonal skills through contribution to discussion
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • analyse the relevance of a range of travellers’ accounts with regard to the context in which they were produced
  • identify and engage critically with the major historiographical debates on the subject

Syllabus

This module introduces some of the ways in which historians use travel literature as a source. It draws on a broad range of examples to explore representations by ‘foreigners’ of societies and cultures with which they are unfamiliar, and also considers what such observations reveal about the particular narrator. Issues of identity will be to the forefront, including national, ethnic, religious and gender. Reasons for travel will be examined, such as pleasure, education, exploration, work and politics.

Special Features

• The seminars present you with the opportunity to engage with each of the case studies through a sharing of information and ideas. • You will be given tutorial advice on how to tackle the assessed work. • You will be encouraged to engage closely with primary sources. • The non-assessed essay will help you prepare for the formal assessment, particularly in terms of how you structure your argument. • The assessed essay will test your ability to sustain an analysis, based on wide and close reading of a variety of sources, both primary and secondary. • The examination will enhance your organisational and writing skills, testing your ability to communicate effectively and succinctly under pressure.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include • weekly two-hour seminars • opportunities for individual tutorial consultation Learning activities include: • individual study and research • preparing and delivering presentations • participating in group discussions Innovative or special features of this module: • opportunities to consult manuscripts and printed texts held by Special Collections at Hartley Library

TypeHours
Teaching24
Independent Study276
Total study time300

Resources & Reading list

Reinhold Schiffer (1999). Oriental Panorama: British Travellers in 19th Century Turkey. 

Nabil Matar (2008). Europe Through Arab Eyes, 1578-1727. 

A.G. Cross (1980). ‘By the Banks of the Thames’: Russians in Eighteenth Century Britain. 

Lillias Campbell Davidson (1889). Hints to Lady Travellers at Home and Abroad. 

A wide variety of primary texts is also available by searching for “travellers’ tales”.

Charles Varley (1964). The Unfortunate Husbandman: an account of the life and travels of a real farmer in Ireland, Scotland, England and America. 

Mary Kingsley (1897). Travels in West Africa. 

Alexander Somerville (1852). The Whistler at the Plough: containing travels in most parts of England: with letters from Ireland. 

Peter Thorold (2008). The British in France: Visitors and Residents since the Revolution. 

Henry David Inglis (1834). Ireland in 1834. 

C.D. van Strien (1993). British Travellers in Holland during the Stuart Period: Edward Browne and John Locke as Tourists in the United Provinces. 

George Grimm (1888). The Australian Explorers, their labours, perils and achievements: being a narrative of discovery from the landing of Captain Cook to the centennial year. 

James Boswell (1955). Boswell on the Grand Tour: Italy, Corsica and France, 1765-1766. 

Kees van Strien (1998). Touring the Low Countries: Accounts of British Travellers, 1660-1720. 

Jeremy Black (1992). The British Abroad: The Grand Tour in the Eighteenth Century. 

Evelyn Waugh (2003). Waugh Abroad: Collected Travel Writings. 

Hunt Janin (2002). ur Paths to Jerusalem : Jewish, Christian, Muslim, and secular pilgrimages, 1000 BCE to 2001 CE. 

James Boswell (1953). Boswell on the Grand Tour: Germany and Switzerland, 1764. 

Andrew Lycett (ed.) (2009). Kipling Abroad: Traffics and Discoveries from Burma to Brazil. 

Jon Spence (ed.) (2005). Jane Austen’s Brother Abroad: the grand tour journals of Edward Austen. 

G.W. Stokes (1890). Round about the World on Bicycles: the pleasure tour of G.W. Burston and H.R. Stokes. 

Paul Fussell (1980). Abroad: British Travel Writing Between the Wars. 

Dea Birkett (2004). Off the Beaten Track: three centuries of women travellers. 

Christopher Hibbert (1987). The Grand Tour. 

Vision of Britain.

Assessment

Assessment Strategy

Assessments designed to provide informal, on-module feedback • classroom presentations • individual consultations • 2,000 word non-assessed essay

Summative

MethodPercentage contribution
Assessment  (2 hours) 50%
Essay  (4000 words) 50%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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