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Modern Journeys and Ancient Lands: Traveling to the Past

 The aim of this workshop is to bring renewed scholarly attention to the rich tradition in the study of travel literature by focusing on a specific type of modern travel: the exploration of the past. It has long been recognized that the experience of the modern traveler is defined by a sense of absence, of “knowing that the ‘real journeys’ belong to others, in the past” (Elsner and Rubiés 1999: 6). But what should we say about travelers who journey with the specific goal of reaching the past—or for that matter, those who stumble upon what they come to see as the ancient past of the lands they are experiencing in the present? How do we think of travelers to ancient lands within the complex interplay between distance in time and distance in place? 


This workshop seeks to foster an interdisciplinary dialogue by inviting perspectives from a variety of geographical, chronological and methodological contexts. The wide comparative scope of this workshop promises to enrich the study of travel by shedding fresh light on familiar dynamics, as well as by raising new questions altogether.

External participants include: Mary Beard (Cambridge UK), Anthony Grafton (Princeton), Tamara Griggs (Harvard), Suzanne Marchand (Louisiana State University), Jonathan Sachs (Concordia University, Montreal, CA), Phiroze Vasunia (Reading UK), Noah Heringman (University of Missouri, Columbia), John-Paul Ghobrial (Cambridge UK)