Arts and Culture
The study of travel, travel literature and records is hardly a novelty in scholarly research. Across almost all major disciplines one can find contributions related to, or significant for, the study of travel culture and history.
The proposed panel seeks to look at travel and transport, using diverse approaches including less conventional ones. It aims to highlight the manifold facets of travel culture and will not – as is often the case – concentrate on just one aspect of travel, one genre or material type, or one single period in time. Rather, the common thread will be the basic nature of travel: All travel starts with its preparation, often travel is documented on the way, and most travel experiences are – in one way or the other– shared and reflected upon during or after the journey.
Travel journals give insight into the feelings and perception of the traveller during his/her journey; photos and picture cards are prominent media to capture and share impressions gathered during a journey; travel literature allows an even broader public to participate in the – true or fictitious - events of a journey; and ephemera provide a momentary glimpse into the travel experience of an individual, a group, or even a whole people. Also closely connected with travel are mementoes and trophies. The sources used form the means to an end: to reveal hidden aspects of travel.
The historical and technical development of transport had a great impact on travel culture throughout the world. Means of transport vary from the palanquin, coach, (motor)cycle or car, to train, boat, ship or aeroplane. The speed of travelling determines the experience of the actual journey but also provides access to destinations that were previously out of reach, not only for the happy few but ultimately for large numbers of travellers. In the 20th century tourism started to flourish and became a major motivation to travel for those who were not missionaries, businesspeople, scholars, officials, or explorers. Some left with the firm intention to return home after a short while, others left for good.
This panel aims at bridging conventional travel studies with less conventional approaches also in order to encourage a novel outlook upon collecting and collections. It is the purpose of this panel and a subsequent book publication to encourage further research and exchange in the field, and to adequately address the rich variety of the topic.