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Courses / Modules / FREN3034 Travel Writing, Cultural Encounter, Identity in Post-War France

Travel Writing, Cultural Encounter, Identity in Post-War France

When you'll study it
Semester 2
CATS points
ECTS points
Level 6
Module lead
Vivienne Orchard
Academic year

Module overview

Based on mixed genre non-fiction narratives of travel, this course moves broadly chronologically, in order to ask what we mean by ‘travel’, and how the discursive relation of ‘self and other’ has been constructed across time and through a range of complex cultural interrelations in modern French travel writing . Having discussed preconceptions of ‘travel writing’ via a deconstruction of the discourse of mainstream guidebooks, and their cultural positioning, by way of introduction, we will then focus on the ‘classical scene’ of ethnographic encounter in ‘literary’ anthropology. We will then move on to two accounts produced immediately after the Second World War, in order to engage with three key theoretical concepts of cultural encounter - authenticity, the ‘decline’ of cultural diversity, and alienation. We then move on to work which ‘exoticises the future’, written within the framework of cultural semiotics in the 1970s, and postmodernism in the 1980s. In the next segment, ‘The Tourist Gaze’, we will look at ethical and political questions around mass leisure and tourism, in relation to travel writing, versus the ‘committed’ traveller. We will look at two written texts, and two photobooks. We then turn to ‘travel at home’ and ethnographies of the transnational city via two works on the mass transit system of Paris.

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