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Travel Writing and Cross-cultural Understanding: Research Cluster on Travel Presentation

Posted on: Mar 1, 2017

Re-orienting Travel

The Interdisciplinary Research Cluster on Travel invites:

Thursday March 2.  12:30-1:30 room T105. ”Travel Writing and Cross-cultural Understanding.”  Dr. Leilei Chen. 

The book Re-Orienting China: Travel Writing and Cross-cultural Understanding features two Canadian and four American travel writers examining post-1949 China.  Re-Orienting China: Travel Writing and Cross-cultural Understanding contributes to the study of travel literature by going beyond the genre’s imperialist implications. Chen’s extensive archival research on travel narratives about contemporary China leads her to examine those works that have not yet caught adequate scholarly attention. With a close reading of Jan Wong, Jock T. Wilson, Peter Hessler, Leslie T. Chang, Hill Gates, and Yi-Fu Tuan, her book addresses the urgency of understanding travel writing as a genre of cultural translation and of transformation that results from interacting with Chinese otherness. In addition to the moments of separation the genre conventionally represents in various forms between home and abroad, and between self and other; the book looks for connections and commonalities the travellers envisioned in the foreign country. It shows that cultural difference does not simply separate the self from the other. Despite its nature as a barrier, difference may engender a genuine interest in the other and may catalyse a rediscovery of the self in relation to the other and, possibly, meaningful exchanges between China and the travellers’ home countries. In the context of today’s globalized world where communication across ethnic and cultural borders becomes a daily necessity, Chen’s book imagines the hope of a productive communication with otherness and the possibility of an equilibrium relationship across borders

Dr. Leilei Chen teaches English literature and Writing Studies courses at the University of Alberta and MacEwan University. She worked at the Writing Centre and taught both junior and senior English courses at Concordia University of Edmonton from 2013 to 2015. She writes nonfiction and has published in the fields of travel writing studies, Canadian literature, Asian American literature, and Victorian literature. Her Chinese translation of Steven Grosby’s Nationalism: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press) is coming out from China’s Yilin Press (南京译林出版社). She was a professor of English at Jinan University, Guangzhou, before moving to Canada

Concordia University of Edmonton – Building Bridges