Travelling Narratives: Modernity and the Spatial Imaginary

International Symposium at the University of Zurich, 29 November – 1 December 2013

Cultures have always been in contact with as well as imagined spaces other than their own. Ever since the age of discovery, however, the relations, links and ruptures between different spaces have played an increasingly significant role in the cultural imaginary, taking on new urgency in today’s world of ever increasing mobility and global networks.

This three-day symposium hosted by the English Department at the University of Zurich will focus on spaces in relation, addressing the importance of issues such as borders and crossings, utopia, travel and exile in the sphere of cultural production. It aims to explore ways in which spaces are represented and textually produced, as well as how boundaries between different spaces are traversed.

The conference is primarily aimed at scholars working in the field of literary and cultural studies. However, as we believe issues of spatiality can be fruitfully examined in an interdisciplinary framework we welcome participants from different segments of the academic community.


• Liminal Spaces
• Vision and Place in 19th-Century Travel Writing
• Theories of Place and Space
• Spatial Modes of Seeing
• Literary Islands
• Filmic Mapping of the Self
• Borders and Shores
• Utopia/Dystopia and Memory
• Border Crossing
• The Sea as Space of Exchange
• Mapping Space
• Travel Narrative and Re-vision / Revisiting
• The Atlantic Imaginary
• Imagining Hawai’i
• Fluidity, Dissolution of Borders
• Exile and Life Writing
• Island Poetics
• Transnational Spaces, Migrant Selves, Deracination

Conference Programme



Registration and Participation

Please register by completing the registration form. The deadline for auditors was 5 November, but late registration is still possible. The conference fee is 80 Swiss Francs. UZH staff and students are exempt from the registration fee. All keynote lectures and individual panels are open to the general public.

Registration Form for Speakers (DOC, 93 KB)

Registration Form for Auditors (DOC, 93 KB)

Keynote speakers

Prof. Tom Conley (Harvard, USA)
Prof. Andrew Thacker (Nottingham, UK)
Assoc. Prof. Robert T. Tally Jr. (San Marcos, USA)

The conference will be held in cooperation with the international Border Aesthetics group based at the University of Tromsø (Norway) and the research group Spaces of Language and Literature from the University of Tampere (Finland).

Johannes Riquet
Elizabeth Kollmann

English Department, University of Zurich