Travellers' Tales: Narratives of Home and Displacement

Travellers' Tales: Narratives of Home and Displacement

Travellers' Tales: Narratives of Home and Displacement

Travellers' Tales: Narratives of Home and Displacement

Synopsis

An investigation into the future of travelling in a world where boundaries are shifting and dissolving. Amongst the issues covered are politics and identity, history and narration and the representation of other cultures.

Excerpt

'And just how far would you like to go in?' he asked and the three kings all looked at each other. 'Not too far but just far enough so's we can say that we've been there.'

The process of editing is one of selection, ordering and construction-in effect, of narration-composing a tale for the reader to travel through. The introduction becomes a route-map (tracing the most efficient course), or a tour guide (pointing out significant sights and sites). But the tidy helpfulness of an introduction as metanarrative, or map, threatens to undermine our project. There is no single route through the conflicts and ambiguities attending a range of explosive futures for the relations between travel, community, identity and difference. Perhaps the ideal form would be a collection of postcards home, from which the reader would create his or her own preferred itinerary but, given the structure of books, there has to be a beginning, a middle and an end. So the 'foreword' is offered here in the spirit of holiday snaps or a guidebook read when the journey is over, as an aide mémoire, and for the pleasures of musing rather than mapping. Trinh Minh-ha's chapter serves as a prologue-charting the territories through which the following essays move, outlining possible boundaries, and proposing routes through the modern flux of shifting and sometimes violently abrading identities-and Iain Chambers gives us our epilogue, revisiting themes from the essays in between, acknowledging both the continuing power of historical narratives and the ultimate impossibility of final destination and closure.

Any atlas index resonates now with images of violent displacement: Bosnia, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Kurdistan, Los Angeles, Mozambique, Palestine, Romania, Rostock, Somalia…the world witnesses what is probably the largest ever movement and migration of peoples dispossessed by war, drought, 'ethnic cleansing' and economic instability. A conference at the Tate Gallery in 1992 and a few thousand readers of this book

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