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HomeMediating Otherness: Encounters across Space and Time (16th to 19th centuries)

Mediating Otherness: Encounters across Space and Time (16th to 19th centuries)

Représenter l’altérité : rencontres à travers l’espace et le temps (entre les XVIe et XIXe siècles)

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Published on Friday, March 20, 2020


Cette journée d'étude se donne pour but de considérer les stratégies mises en œuvre par la littérature de voyage entre les XVIe et XIXe siècles afin de représenter la figure de l'autre, qu'il s'agisse de stratégies textuelles ou visuelles. Tous les domaines linguistiques et culturels pourront être considérés afin de construire un tableau aussi large que possible de la manière dont l'autre est appréhendé par les récits des voyageurs à l'époque moderne.


Date and venue: Université Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne, 11/09/2020

Keynote: Professor Ladan Niayesh (LARCA, Université de Paris)


The period between the 16th and the 19th centuries has deeply shaped Western representations of Otherness through the work of artists, antiquarians and travel writers. The repetitions, rewritings, quotations and corrections of earlier works all contributed to the construction of a palimpsestic depiction of Otherness, whether spatial or temporal, real or imagined.

This workshop aims to investigate the strategies implemented by travel writers in this creative process, where intertextual references and rhetorical solutions were often reinforced by visual props such as maps and illustrations. These mediating devices, among others, could be used to make sense of radical Otherness or, on the contrary, to reinforce the alien character of the encounter. Furthermore, these methods of description allowed the authors to blur the lines between time and space, highlighting contrast or continuity between past and present. Their representations and interpretations underlie what Edward Said has described as Orientalism but this Western framework does not preclude the analysis of works by non-Western authors confronted to various forms of Otherness on their travels abroad.

The synthesis and selection of narratives and traditions made by writers will also be addressed, raising broader questions concerning both the role of travel books in constructing and disseminating knowledge and the audience these works were targeting. The didactic dimension of the travelogues may be considered, along with the various frameworks (scientific, religious, antiquarian...) that shape both the depiction and the interpretation of Otherness proposed by the authors. The mediation of modern Otherness through the prism of apparently unrelated realms of knowledge – classical, literary, archaeological or historical, for instance – is also worth examining as one of the most common devices authors resort to.

We invite the submission of papers on travel writing in any language and topics on any aspect of ‘Otherness’ will be considered. These may include, but are not limited to, one of the following:

  • Antiquity as a figure of otherness
  • The understanding of spatial Otherness as temporal / historical Otherness
  • Construction of stereotypes
  • Contribution to the ‘single story’ of a place or people or deconstruction of such a single story
  • Non-textual devices used to convey otherness
  • Rhetorical or literary devices used to mediate otherness
  • Selection and repetition of themes and motifs 
  • Use of foreign languages within the text
  • Use of science to represent otherness

Submission Guidelines

Papers may be presented in either English or French. Applicants are kindly invited to submit a word document containing the following: (a) your name, (b) the title of your paper, (c) institutional affiliation, (d) contact details, and (e) an abstract in French or English of no more than 300 words (papers should be suitable for 20 min presentations).

Deadlines: Proposals in a Word or PDF document should be sent to the organisers (nolwenn.corriou@univ-paris1.fr and giacomo.savani@ucd.ie)

by 17 April 2020

Selected applicants will be contacted by 18 May 2020.

Organising committee

  • Nolwenn Corriou (Université Paris 1)
  • Giacomo Savani (University College Dublin)


  • 17 rue de la Sorbonne
    Paris, France (75005)


  • Friday, April 17, 2020


  • otherness, travel writing, Orientalism, early modern period


  • Nolwenn Corriou
    courriel : nolwenn [dot] corriou [at] univ-paris1 [dot] fr
  • Giacomo Savani
    courriel : giacomo [dot] savani [at] ucd [dot] ie

Information source

  • Nolwenn Corriou
    courriel : nolwenn [dot] corriou [at] univ-paris1 [dot] fr


CC0-1.0 This announcement is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal.

To cite this announcement

« Mediating Otherness: Encounters across Space and Time (16th to 19th centuries) », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Friday, March 20, 2020, https://doi.org/10.58079/14p7

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