In this course, we’ll approach travel writing in a number of different ways, first looking at the history of travel literature from Ancient Greece through the Grand Tour and beyond. We’ll read travel pieces by Petrarch, Marco Polo, Dostoevsky, Edith Wharton, Paul Bowles, Richard Wright, Paul Theroux, Ann Beattie, and many others. Before we arrive at each port, we’ll read travel essays about our location to prepare us for our trip and to provide topics for classroom discussion. Gathered in-port experiences will form the basis of several different types of travel writing: from personal essay, to journalism, to creative non-fiction, and more. There will be two longer essays required, as well as shorter assignments for each port and also our time at sea. Each student will keep a travel journal, as observation and written reflection are key to turning experience in the world into experience on the page. Each student will submit two pieces to workshop. These sessions will provide feedback and fresh ideas for revision. The final project will consist of a portfolio of your work throughout the term. The portfolio will also require a revision of one piece from workshop and a reflection-based essay on your experiences throughout our voyage.
Field WorkCountry: Spain
Day: 2 - Cadiz - Tuesday, 30 September
This immersive field lab experience will take us from Cadiz, Spain to Seville. Having at one point been controlled by both the Moors and the Christians, Seville will provide us the opportunity to visit and engage with both European and African architecture and culture. While in Seville, we will visit Seville Cathedral, a Roman-Catholic church and the largest Gothic church in the world. Built on the former site of a mosque, the church provides context for the mixture of cultures throughout Seville’s history. From the Cathedral, we’ll walk through Barrio Santa Cruz, Seville’s historic Jewish quarter. After lunch—a box lunch or you can purchase something in town—we’ll continue to the Alcazar, an historic Moorish palace and an excellent example of Moorish architecture. From the Alcazar, we will continue to the Parque Santa Maria where will visit the Plaza de Espana and take time to sit and record our thoughts, observations, and impressions as we prepare to leave Europe and continue to Africa. Academic Objectives: 1. To discuss, contemplate, and experience the geographical significance of Seville as a meeting point of historical European and African cultures. 2. To record and reflect upon our observations as we move through multiple UNESCO World Heritage Sites and engage with Seville through the lens of a travel writer. 3. To reflect upon our travels so far throughout Europe and identify our expectations and thoughts as we move from Europe to Africa.