Traveling does not necessarily imply actual physical movement anymore. Thanks to modern technologies, one can discover the world in an afternoon from the comforts of one’s home. It is possible to escape into literary and virtual worlds to satisfy one’s “Wanderlust” by perusing the internet to plan for trips, or diving into remote cultures through books. Not only do we travel for pleasure, but also out of necessity, e.g., to escape life threatening conditions, or to optimize our lives, a trait we share with migratory birds, for instance. Humans have been following the urge to move since prehistoric times, and thus are constantly altering locations, languages, and living conditions.
This urge for travel and migration entails mass movements as well as introspective and solitary travel. Those fortunate enough to choose to travel, push personal boundaries, while exploring new cultures and encountering new foods, languages, and customs/traditions. Postcards, snapshots, and blogs, for instance, provide glimpses into many individual – and thus greatly varying – experiences. Imagined travel through reading or other technological means enables the lone explorer to leave the familiar and encounter the unknown, either adapting to it or manipulating it to fit one’s individual worldview.
Travel is not necessarily motivated by the wish to encounter new countries and cultures, but is often propelled by wars, social and political injustices, and disease. Hazardous living conditions drive refugees and emigrants, who hope to establish new lives elsewhere, out of their countries, carrying only small bundles of belongings; however, neither the exorbitant transportation fees traffickers assess, nor the wish to relocate, guarantee successful emigration and immigration. Even upon successful arrival, bureaucratic, linguistic, and cultural barriers and boundaries complicate new beginnings or render them impossible.
Every day, either by desire or necessity, humans travel all over the globe. Whether it is through books, the internet, language, cars, or planes, we find a way to venture out and change our world.
We invite graduate students from all disciplines to present papers on any aspect of travel or emigration in English or German (with an English summary for non-German speakers). While this conference is being hosted by the Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures at the University of Virginia, students in other fields, including social sciences, anthropology, sociology, history, natural sciences, literary and media studies, art, and architecture, are encouraged to submit an abstract.
Possible topics include, but are not limited to:
· Terra Incognita
· Language shift – dialect – creole/pidgin
· National Identity
· Immigration – Emigration - Refugees
· Colonization - Imperialism
· Leaving home/Heimat
· Translation – “Survival language”
· Literature as time/space travel
· Virtual World as time/space travelUrbanization - Suburbanization
· Travelogues – Diaries – Postcards
· Tourism - Ecotourism
· Travel within Literature – Travel Novel
· Icons of Travel: Explorer, Cowboy, etc
· Imagined Travel – Escapism – Fantasy
· Virtual Tours – Blogs – Photo Sharing
· Real World vs. Virtual World
· Plant/Animal migration
· Disease VectorsCell Migration