CFP: African Trajectories: Travel and the Archive

SCOLMA (the UK Libraries and Archives Group on Africa) 

Annual Conference

African Trajectories: Travel and the Archive


2 July 2014

University of Birmingham



“Travel, in the younger sort, is part of education; in the elder, a sort of experience”.  (Francis Bacon, On Travel)

Travel literature has perhaps never been so popular. Several new journals devoted to the genre have been launched in recent years. Africa is central to this new scholarship, and popularisation. The Livingstone Bicentenary in 2013 demonstrated the continued interest in nineteenth century explorers and new ways of accessing and interpreting their records.

On the one hand, historical travel writing is continues to be a subject of research and publication, and the field is now complicated by new perspectives on old narratives and by growing scholarship on the travels of African and Arabic writers within and  beyond the continent. On the other, travel accounts continue to flourish as a modern genre, with the publication not only of books but also of more and more accounts and guides in the blogosphere. Most travellers and tourists turn first to the internet for information. How is the existing archive being shaped and investigated in the 21stcentury? How can we capture the archive being generated by new media?

This conference will consider the role of scholars, libraries, archives and information sources in documenting and interpreting the complex inter-relationship of travel, tourism and heritage in, to and from Africa.  Topics may include, but are not limited to:

                        Classic accounts of travel and exploration – critiques and new perspectives

                        Exploring the archive: new sources for histories of travel

                        Opening up the archive in the digital age

                        Guidebooks and advertising

                        Travel writing and new media

                        Preservation of ephemera


Researchers, archivists and librarians are invited to submit abstracts for consideration for this conference. 

Abstracts of up to 500 words may be sent to Lucy McCann at by 31 March 2014.

Categories: Calls for & opportunities

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