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Moving Between Cultures

Option coordinator: 
Dr Peter Arnds (Department of Germanic Studies) 


The course aims to explore fundamental issues relating to moving between cultures across a representative range of primarily European perspectives, tackling some of the theoretical and methodological issues raised by travel writing and other related forms of cultural expression. "Moving Between Cutures" lasts for two 9-week terms (Michaelmas and Hilary), with a couple of extra meetings in the final (Trinity) term. It will follow, in roughly chronological order, at the rate of two hours per week, a series of linguistically and culturally homogeneous mini-corpuses, each of which will raise an important issue relating to travel writing. In this way some of the multiple levels of conception and expression of intercultural movement will be identified and investigated. Two strands in particular will be explored: the theme of the imaginary trip as it moves from legendary travel, through fictional voyage to time travel (with focus on Irish, English, Russian and Slavonic texts); and the theme of travel in the real world as it involves arrivals and departures, homecoming and adventure, cultural and spatial movement (involving Italian, Germanic and Hispanic corpuses). In addition, some of the more specifically theoretical and semiotic issues raised by travel will be confronted in the sessions devoted to the travel writings of recent or contemporary French theorists.

Elements of overlap between these categories and the ultimately problematic nature of any kind of classification of cultural movement and exchange will be explored in a couple of sessions at the end of the year which a number of the class teachers will be present.