Calling All Traveling Spinsters!

This year the Travel Cultures Seminar Series presented by the University of Oxford is focusing on the perennial topic of traveling women. The conference, ‘Navigating Networks: Women, Travel, and Female Communities’ is sure to excite feminists, women’s studies majors, and lady-likers from all over the world. Oxford  is looking for papers that expel the stereotype that travel writing is a man’s field and to widen the perspective. After all, it’s 2013 and women still hold up half the sky. Interestingly, they aren’t looking for a bra-burning haiku, either. The University of Oxford is interested in looking at papers that disregard the idea of gendering the travel and to see traveling as the human experience that it is. According to the website, they are looking for papers that focus on connection from any historical period. The muse can be anything from letters and diaries to paintings and photography… GO!

I was happy to read that they are looking to focus on wealthy women, women traveling “independently” from men, like Daisy Miller or, even more hilariously, “Spinsters Abroad.” The conference seems just perfect for my paper “Representations of the American Women Abroad.” On top of the of everything I’ve already mentioned, the website also welcomes papers with the following topics or themes:

The Act of Travel:
• access to exclusively female spaces abroad (harems, baths, spas, circles of gossip)
• development of alliances between the female traveller and the female local
• issues of ‘othering’ – do women have an imperial agenda or do they sympathise with foreign women?
• bonds of sisterhood, friendship, and partnerships
• communities of female expats; salons and social scenes abroad
• feminine self-fashioning: creation of female travel identities abroad
• negative associations with female travel networks: women’s aversion to being lumped together with other female travellers; their desire to break free from collective identities and stereotypes

Many of these ideas coincide with what I’ve ready written about the class issues and female dynamics within Daisy Miller. Other topics and ideas that haven’t been exactly addressed in my paper are also featured and could have relevancy if I was to reconstruct my long paper as a conference paper. All this and more will be presented at the Navigating Networks: Women, Travel, and Female Communities’ conference in Oxford on October 4, 2013!

For more information, check out their website (which I used to help me with this blog post).


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