With essays by Gloria Anzaldúa, Jean Baudrillard, William Bevis, Homi Bhabha, Michel Butor, Hélène Cixous, Erik Cohen, Michel de Certeau, Wayne Franklin, Paul Fussell, Farah Jasmine Griffin, Caren Kaplan, Eric Leed, Dean MacCannell, Doreen Massey, Carl Pedersen, Gustavo Pérez-Firmat, Mary Louise Pratt, R. Radhakrishnan, Edward W. Said, and Thayer Scudder
Travel, movement, mobility--these are some of the essential activities in human life. Whether we travel to foreign lands or just across the city, we all journey, and from our journeying we shape ourselves, our history, and the stories we tell.
In essays written by some of the most respected contemporary scholars, this anthology brings together some of the best informed convictions about travel. Travel, so essential to human life, is a complex matter that encompasses a variety of travel experiences--family vacation, political exile, exploration of distant lands, immigration, mundane shopping trips. Likewise, as the essays in the collection demonstrate, discussion of travel crosses a range of personal and theoretical perspectives--from the postmodern sensibility of Jean Baudrillard to R. Radhakrishnan's explanation to his son of what it means for Indians to live in the United States. As the field of travel itself "travels" across academic and theoretical boundaries, it brings together sociology, anthropology, geography, history, psychology, and literary criticism.
Recognizing that multidimensional quality of travel, this book gathers essays that represent various travel experiences and approaches to discussing them. Mapping out definitions of travel, the collection includes essays on tourism and travel writing, on modern globalization and the diaspora, on immigration, migration, and forced relocation. Defining Travel also highlights American experiences of mobility by including essays on Native Americans and early contact with the New World, as well as the massive migration of African Americans to northern cities.
Running throughout the essays are sometimes conflicting discussions about what constitutes travel and the homesite, the role of travel, knowledge, and power, especially when travel is accompanied by imperialistic motives.
Here readers truly will discover that the essence of human life is wayfaring.
Susan L. Roberson, an assistant professor of English at Alabama State University in Montgomery, is the editor of Women, America, and Movement: Narratives of Relocation and author of Emerson in His Sermons: A Man-Made Self.