This course will explore travel writing and cultural encounter across a range of film and written texts. We will look at tourism and leisure and at tourism as exploitation; at the politics of guidebooks, and the quest for authenticity through travel; at travel writing as a critique of one’s own culture; and travel writing ‘at home’. We will study recent Francophone films which examine travel in relation to postcolonial identities in France, Western ‘dark’ tourism, and terrorist radicalisation. We will look at classic accounts which critique travel writing and the privileged, exoticising Western narrator by Barthes, Lévi-Strauss and Baudrillard, in Japan, Brazil, the Caribbean, and the USA. We will consider the attempt to rewrite Paris as a transnational city in the work of Maspéro.
All written material is available in English translation and all films are available with English subtitles.