Travel, Movement and (Im)Mobilities
An Inclusive Interdisciplinary Conference
Saturday 13th April 2019 – Sunday 14th April 2019
ABSTRACT AND PAPERS
Gifts from Babylon: A Short Film on Travel, Movement and (Im)mobilities
University of Amsterdam
Africa-EU migration, refugee journeys, traumatized refugees, return-migration, The Gambia, West-Africa
Gifts from Babylon (2018, ’24) is a short film exploring the psychological impact of illegal Africa-EU migration through the lens of a Gambian return-migrant. The film captures the personal conflicts that arise when Modou, a deported refugee, returns to his home country after having lived illegally in Europe for five years…
Babylon is the name that is often used in the Gambia when referring to Europe – and the idealized destination of many young Gambians when taking the backway, the dangerous and illegal smuggler’s journey to Europe via Libya and the Mediterranean. The main character is Modou (Christopher Tijan Smith), who took the backway when he was in his early twenties. Back then, he stole money from local gang leader, Jimmy the Fixer, to cross the desert by overcrowded truck and the sea by rickety boat. After five years in Europe, he is deported back to his home country, where he tries to reunite with his family and friends. However, after the dehumanizing and traumatizing experience of his illegal migrant journey, Modou comes back to the Gambia as a changed man – a man his family and friends don’t recognize anymore. On top of that, the debts he left behind have not been forgotten by Jimmy. While suffering from intense flashbacks of his illegal migrant journey, he wonders what has become of him…
Gifts from Babylon was shot in The Gambia in late 2017, early 2018, with a small Dutch-Gambian crew, after a successful crowdfunding campaign supported by Dutch human rights film festival Movies that Matter. The films received its world premiere last September at the Nederlands Film Festival 2018 and is currently running the international film festival circuit. Dr. Martens is the producer and story editor of the film.
Map of US Destinations based on American Tourist Reviews
National Research University Higher School of Economics
US Map, tourist reviews, destinations, trip, geographical names
Inner tourism in the USA is a feature of everyday life. A closer look at personal US tourist experience through collocations used in online tourist reviews reveals an intricate and nation-oriented phenomenon. The research is aimed at creation of the map of the most popular destinations in American inner tourism based on the analysis of online tourist reviews. The analysis procedure had three steps. First, due to linguistic analysis collocations with the word trip and a geographical name were identified in the reviews on the travel site. Second, due to quantitative analysis geographical names were ranked from the most popular to the least ones. And third, the map was drawn on the mapchart.net. The data included 650 American tourist reviews containing 122 geographical names.
The analysis revealed that American tourists mostly travel to the cities (Charleston trip, Santa Fe trip, San Francisco, Palm, Jacksonville, Tybee, Las Vegas, Miami, NYC, Biloxi, etc.), states (Florida, and California), regions (Pacific Northwest, New England, and South California), mansions, and natural objects rivers (the Wyoming river, the Mississippi river, the Watauga, river, etc.), canyons (Brown’s Canyon, Hells Canyon, Grand Canyon, Lower Brown, etc.), islands (Maui, Hawaii trip and Little Tybee), national parks (Safari Yellowstone park, Pennekamp, and Dry Tortugas waterfalls, beaches, oceans, streams, lakes, craters, bonds, coral reefs, mansions, and farms. All these data are used to identify the states most popular for inner tourism in the USA. On the US map the following states were colored: North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Texas, Arkansas, California, Oregon, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, Wisconsin, Illinois, New York and Alaska.
The map of popular touristic states can be useful for foreign tourists as it presents a new inner view on the USA places of interest. Given the current focus of attention on USA inner tourism, it might also be worthwhile to investigate tourists’ reviews about trip destinations in other countries, for example, European or Asian countries.
Times on the Road: Toward a Phenomenological History of the Road Movie
Glen W. Norton
Wilfrid Laurier University, Ontario, Canada
Road Movie, Film, Phenomenology, Existentialism, Genre Studies
The Road Movie as a specific focus of film criticism has a relatively short history behind it. Salient work on the genre includes: 1. Charting the historical lineage of both American and European strains. 2. Defining the European Road Movie in opposition to American sensibilities to reflect an increasingly diasporic, transnational Europe. 3. Examining Road Movies which might overcome this American/European binary, charting generic norms inflected by nationality or authorship yet keeping the binary opposition intact.
The problem of grounding genre study in an American/European binary can be overcome by positing the Road Movie as essentially existential. This involves a new historical reading along a broad spectrum of regional, national and transnational travel types, refined according to the traveler’s existential relationship to “home”. This relationship is essentially temporal, and can be read phenomenologically as a character’s heightened sense of presence, precisely because the everyday temporarily of home is not present on the road.
This preliminary understanding of a traveler’s journey type and their relation to home gives rise to three basic categories of traveller: the exile/refugee/immigrant; the nomad/migrant; and the tourist/pilgrim. These journey and traveller types and their temporal relationships to home can be used to evaluate both canonical and non-traditional entries in the global history of the Road Movie without the need to fall back upon traditional nationalist or auteurist methodologies. Instead, the genre is defined by its power to individuate characters, not as members of a nation state or as articulations of an auteurist worldview but as expressions of temporality – more specifically, as articulations of a lived sense of the present, the vicissitudes of which move between existential selfdiscovery and self-deception, an aspect of human temporality which the travel structure of the Road Movie is well suited to facilitate.
How does Mobile-Phone Use Contribute to Mobility-Learning?
University of Toulouse
Cameroon, Cell-phones, Young people, Mobility capital, Empirical learning of mobility.
The word “travel” shares its etymological origins with the French word travail, which means “work”. This etymological proximity suggests that to travel is not innate an involves acquiring specific knowledge and skills. The communication aims to shed light on the ways in which mobility know-how is acquired, augmented and transmitted. It relies on data extracted from research conducted in Cameroon between 2014 and 2018. In this country, using public transport requires a high degree of mastery. Travellers firstly need to know where to make connections, then if they should use several means of transport for the same journey (bus, mototaxi, etc.) They must then know the exact name of the destination. However in Cameroon, people do not find their way around by using formal names of streets or squares as is the case in Europe. They orient themselves using shops’ names and landscape features (such as bridge, a roundabout, etc.). Only those who travel regularly improve their knowledge of the national space, boarding points and place names. Younger people generally do not have this knowledge, which leads them to rely on the help of others to follow a route. The mobile-phone therefore takes on the role of a compass. It enables people not only to check if they have taken the right direction, but also to anticipate the next stages of their trip by finding out about the connections they need to make. As such, the use of mobile-phones provides security for the people on the move and allows them to go beyond the limit of the controllable territory, which then also increases their future ability to travel.
An Optimal Route Calculation and Short Trip Visualization System Based on ‘Kansei’ of Travelers
JR East Group
tourism in Japan, short trip, train travel, impression
If information such as the route, culture, history etc. where travelers do not know well is dynamically distributed, the charm of each place will be conveyed and the satisfaction of tourism in Japan will be improved as well. For this reason, we propose an optimal route calculation and short trip visualization system to the sights along railways and around stations by ‘Kansei’ of travelers without mentioning the specific name. ‘Kansei‘ corresponds with the ability to feel in things such as impression, emotion and sense. In this system, MMM (Mathematical Model of Meaning) is applied and transformed to the impression and spatio-temporal features related to sightseeing with a metric for subspace feature selection. All sights and events for sightseeing are mapped onto the MMM vector space. This system implements inner product for similarity measurement in the vector space and extracts sightseeing information for optimum route metering based on grace time and impression for sightseeing given by a traveler. In the extraction of sightseeing spots, the impression context on time, culture, history, etc., which tourists place importance, is used for weighting in the inner product calculation. In addition, this system utilizes Google Maps for optimum route search and Short Trip visualization. This system also supports multilingual. Our motivation for introducing an impression context into our travel guide system is to make it easier for travelers to get off a train, and to let go to sightseeing spots and events not listed in guidebooks. In order to confirm feasibility and applicability of this system, we examined the tourist spots from Narita airport to Tokyo station visualized by this system. The results are shown. Additionally, we will discuss deploying this system to actual railway service based on the results.
Cross Contamination: Object Lessons for an Ecocritical Approach to the Via Francigena
The American University of Rome
Via Francigena, contamination, pilgrimage, representation, sustainability, cultural heritage, pollution, ecotourism, trans-corporeality, ecocriticism
In a similar but differently applied view to Stacy Alaimo’s theory of trans-corporeality in Bodily Natures, I examine sacred spaces and the pilgrims in these spaces within the contemporary world, and the practical questions surrounding the relationship between contamination and the spiritual body. Along the section of the Via Francigena pilgrimage route in Lazio, Italy, there have been serious problems of pollution and environmental and urban degradation. Lazio holds the seat of the Vatican, Saint Peter’s—the ultimate destination for these pilgrims, many of whom began their journey in Canterbury, England. If pilgrims embark on pilgrimages as a demonstration of sacrifice and endurance to achieve spiritual clarity, how is their heightened state of awareness shaped by multiple forms of pollution as they traverse the route and streets of Rome? If we imagine that each day of the pilgrim’s journey is a step towards a spiritual goal, what happens when the pilgrims see Saint Peter’s for the first time at the “Mountain of Joy” but are surrounded by a trash strewn park? Similarly, how do we adjust our understanding of pilgrims as engaged in an essentially purifying series of actions as they trammel and contaminate small-farming hazelnut fields in Lazio? Polluted spaces shape the imagination of designated spiritual landscapes; indeed, these routes and sites are caught in a feedback loop of ongoing contamination by their very agents of attempted spiritual grace. Similar to how Alaimo interprets the interaction between self and the material world as permeable and transformative, I consider ways by which the Via Francigena pilgrimage route is being contaminated and spreading contamination; how this shapes the consciousness of its travelers and those connected geographically and culturally along its route; how contamination permeates representations of itself; and how participants might respond to the ongoing transformation of this sacralized landscape.
Trans-Corporeal Epiphanies: New Frontiers for the 21st Century EcoPilgrim
SUNY Empire State College
pilgrimage, ecocriticism, trans-corporeality, hyperobject, sustainability, culture, transformation, interface, Alaimo, Morton
What is a pilgrimage in a trans-corporeal world? The notion of a pilgrimage as a journey undertaken by a discrete individual or group, to a sacred object or place, is awkwardly applicable in a world that we now perceive as formed of interfaces between bodies, a world where matter and information flow virtually unimpeded, and where the notion of boundaries and permanency gives way to overlap, flux, and change. Things, which were once considered autonomous, are newly discovered to be the result of numerous constitutive bodies and dynamic processes—cells, cities, rivers, spiritual corpus, and human bodies, which scientists have found to contain potentially only 10% of our authentic, genetic selves. Ecocritical theorist Stacy Alaimo describes this state of embeddedness and interchange within environments as trans-corporeality, while Thomas Morton delineates hyperobjects, temporal and spatial entities so vast they shatter our understanding of the very nature of a thing. Viewed through such ecocritical lenses, the traditional conception of a pilgrimage to somewhere and something constant might more accurately be understood as a process of exchange and transformation, wherein the route and destination of the pilgrimage are as permeable and dynamic as the pilgrim herself. Trans-corporality and hyperobjectivity may offer critical insights into how pilgrims and pilgrimages can better adapt to a world fraught by environmental crises and collapse. By understanding bodies as embedded within ecologies of exchange, and sites of pilgrimages as hubs of energy and flow, the role of pilgrims within pilgrimages, and pilgrimages within cultures can expand to include a heightened ecological awareness of the essential spiritual and physical oneness of all things. In this way, pilgrims and pilgrimages becomes agents of ecologically vibrant culture change.
The Rhetoric of Religious Homologies in Air Travel
The University of Texas at Austin
air travel, terrorism, security, rhetoric, homology, religion, ritual
Since the attacks of September 11, 2001 in the United States, and subsequent terrorist assaults using or threatening to use airplanes, air travel around the world has become much more rigidly controlled by state and corporate authorities. The public may find these restrictions burdensome, but resistance to them is rare. In large part this is because many of the restrictions are prudent. Some compliance is induced by the sight of armed guards and other instruments of physical control in airports, air marshalls on flights, and so forth. But public compliance has also been gained by and large through rhetorical means. This paper uses the method of identifying rhetorical homologies to show how many dimensions of air travel are now aligned with the forms of well known religious rituals. Even for passengers with no active religious affiliation and practice, people have knowledge of religious, ritual forms from across a wide range of cultures. The paper illustrates the rhetorical effectiveness of appeals to form, at the same time that it illustrates the usefulness of homological critique.
Grief-Inspired Journeys: Travel as a Means of Coping with Loss
grief, loss, bereavement, travel, healing, Uganda, Freud, constructionist theory, mourning, meaning-making
The loss of a loved one is a disruptive and potentially devastating experience, which can have serious emotional, psychological, and even physical effects on the bereaved. The grief that results from such loss may occur along a spectrum, from brief and productive resolution to prolonged and complicated crises, leading researchers from various fields to study the mourning process and propose methods of coping.
My first husband was killed in a motor vehicle accident in July 2007. We had four young children and a new timber-framing business at the time, and I felt as though my entire world had been kicked out from under me. Unexpectedly, just six months later, I found myself in Uganda, pursuing a dream my husband and I had shared to volunteer in areas affected by more than two decades of civil war. While travel after loss could understandably be conceived as an escape – an instance of the fallacious geographical cure – my experience proved otherwise. Travel encouraged me to engage more fully in my grief work and contributed to both my healing and self-discovery.
Drawing from my own experience of travel after loss, I will explore the role of travel in the bereavement process. Framing my discussion in constructionist terms, I will assert that travel can help those who are bereaved make meaning of loss in the following ways: by reasserting control over one’s situation, by reframing the loss narrative in a more positive light, and by connecting to others who have experienced similar tragedies in different contexts. Finally, I will consider the potential risks associated with traveling while grieving.
Perspectives of Hospitality Industry Employees On Serving Travellers With Disabilities
California State University, Fresno
Disability, barriers, travel, training, inclusive society
A frequently overlooked portion of the leisure travel market is travel by people with disabilities. While regulations implemented world-wide over the past three decades have improved physical access and moved us toward a more inclusive society, organizational culture, including attitudes and training of hospitality industry employees continue to be identified as barriers. The purpose of this study was to investigate the perspective of industry employees who work in direct service positions related to their experience serving travelers with disabilities. Using a mixed methods approach, participants were asked to describe challenges encountered serving travelers with disabilities, training received, and attitudes toward this market sector. Four salient themes emerged: 1) lack of adequate training; 2) limited interaction; 3) lack of resources; and 4) fear. Results suggest that additional training for direct service employees may be one avenue to affect change. Specific focus on the areas of communication, access, inclusive approaches, assistive technology, and policy/regulation is recommended.
Rewriting Sarmiento: Nation and Gender in Mansilla’s Recuerdos de viaje
Mansilla, Eduarda, travel writing, nation, Sarmiento, modernity, 19th century, Recuerdos de viaje
In 1880, Eduarda Mansilla de García (1834-1892), one of the best known and most successful Argentinean women writers of her time, published a travel narrative Recuerdos de viaje based on her two sojourns in the United States in the 1860s and 1870s. The book, one of the first travel narratives about the US of her generation, represents a synthesis of Mansilla’s impressions and judgments about the United States and its position with respect to Latin America and Europe. Openly subjective and entertaining, the travelogue allowed Mansilla to safely advance her opinions on various hot subjects of the time, among them women’s roles in society, Argentinian national project and her country’s place on the international arena. In what follows, I demonstrate that one of the objectives of Mansilla’s discourse in Recuerdos is to question enthusiastic representations of the United States of Faustino Domingo Sarmiento, a distinguished politician and an admiring friend, as expressed in his own well-known travelogue Viajes por Europa, África y América. Mansilla critically engages with Sarmiento’s image of the United States as an epitome of modernity and a model for the development of Argentina. By comparing the United States and Argentina through the lens of “race” and dependency on their formal colonial “centers,” Mansilla questions the superiority of the United States, boosts the image of Argentina and defends the desirability of aristocratic societies. Mansilla’s international experiences, elite connections and glamorous success at European courts allowed her to re-write with authority various scenes and themes present in Sarmiento’s book and thus contribute to the debate on the nation without undermining her own (often conventional) femininity, provoking a controversy in her reading public or upsetting the expected norms of writing for upper-class women.
Joran van der Sloot: The Monster for Aruba and of Peru
University of Amsterdam
Place images, popular imagination, broadcast journalism; news narratives, tropicalization; tropical paradise
The notion of place plays a significant role in news reporting. Where an event takes place ranks third of the Five W’s (and One H) of journalistic information gathering. However, as yet relatively little attention has been given to the role of place images in narrativizing news. This case study on the Dutch television coverage on the (alleged) crimes of Joran van der Sloot seeks to demonstrate the ways in which established place images are used by journalists to create dramatic news stories. Van der Sloot is a Dutch national who is associated with the murder of two young women in two different geographical locations, i.e. Natalee Holloway in Aruba and Stephany Flores Ramírez in Lima (for the latter he has been sentenced to 28 years imprisonment). Using a “culturological” approach to news coverage and drawing on the notion of “tropicalization”, I will argue that the popular (travel) perception of Aruba as an innocent Caribbean tropical paradise and Lima as a dangerous Latin American urban jungle contribute to the description and explanation of the crimes. Both place images are equally fit in the sensational news narratives – in the case of Aruba his crimes are intensified by juxtaposing them with the values associated with the “happy island” and in the case of Lima they are equated with the assumed characteristics of the “chaotic city”. The idea of tropical otherness that dominates the Western popular imagination of these places, I will claim, conformably underlies the narrative structure of these broadcasts. By examining the role of place images in the framing of news stories I seek to highlight their impact on the construction of television news and to contribute to the content analytical study of broadcast journalism.