Imperial Eyes: Travel Writing and Transculturation

Imperial Eyes: Travel Writing and Transculturation

Imperial Eyes: Travel Writing and Transculturation

Imperial Eyes: Travel Writing and Transculturation

Synopsis

Pratt intriguingly explores European travel and exploration writing. In a study of genre and as a critique of ideology, Imperial Eyes examines how travel books by Europeans create the domestic subject of European imperialism.

Excerpt

This book began in a course on travel writing and European expansion that my colleague Rina Benmayor and I taught together at Stanford University in the years 1978-81. She went on to other things, and I got stuck on the subject.

Work on the project has been supported by many sources. The initial course had the benefit of a National Endowment for the Humanities curriculum development grant through the International Relations Program at Stanford University. A year of primary research was made possible by an NEH Fellowship for independent research in 1982-3. Writing-up time in 1987-8 was provided by the Pew Foundation, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and the Stanford Humanities Center. I am grateful to all these sources for supporting my work.

This is a book marked by the global realignments and ideological upheavals that began in the 1980s and continue in the present. It was begun during the anguish of the Reagan-Thatcher years, when demystifying imperialism seemed more urgent than ever, and also more hopeless. It was interrupted by the outbreak of the intense institutional struggles now underway in most American universities over undergraduate humanities curricula-struggles, precisely, over the legacy of Euroimperialism, androcentrism and white supremacy in education and official culture. The writing of this book, then, has been accompanied by a continuing confrontation with the very ideologies whose workings are under study here. Its publication coincides, for better or worse, with the year of the Columbian quincentennial, an occasion in Europe and the Americas for a reconsideration of Eurocolonialism and its aftermaths. In the domains of official culture this conjuncture is chiefly providing an occasion to renovate celebratory narratives of European superiority. The indigenous nations of the Americas are finding in the quincentennial an opportunity to assert a counterhistory, revindicate their lifeways, and consolidate present day struggles for territory and autonomy. Intellectuals are called upon to define, or redefine, their relation to the structures of knowledge and power that they produce, and that produce them. In the midst of ecological catastrophe and continuing imperial adventurism,

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.