Call for Papers
Travels to the “Holy Land”: Perceptions, Representations and Narratives
Serena Di Nepi – Arturo Marzano
«Quest» N. 6 aims at investigating the relationship between travels and the “Holy Land” between the XVIII and the XX century. By focusing on travel as main topic of research, this volume intends to analyze the way the “Holy Land” was perceived, represented and narrated in order to shed light on similarities/differences, continuities/fragmentations that might have occurred during three centuries. In particular, we are interested in a comparative analysis between perceptions, representations and narrations provided both by travellers to the “Holy Land” and by subjects (individuals, but also groups, organizations, institutions) who imagined it without ever having journeyed there. The main aims are to identify reciprocal and intertwined influences, to enquire whether narratives of the imagined “Holy Land” have shaped - and/or have been influenced by - travellers’ narratives, and to examine to what extend the construction of the “Holy Land” has been carried out according to a combination of travellers’ reports and imagined narratives. For this purpose, the category of travel is particularly useful, since travels were – and somehow still are – preferential ways of circulation, transmission and dissemination. In this volume we intend to examine how individuals and groups of travellers introduced perceptions, representations and narratives of the “Holy Land” both to their own and to other contexts, thus producing a complex set of echoes, interactions and circulations regarding the “Holy Land”.
Since ancient times, travels have been a common phenomenon, and travel literature has existed. With the modern age, thanks to progress in transportation, travels have become more and more frequent and the number of travellers has highly increased, as the well-known phenomenon of Grand Tour in the XVII century easily shows (Black 1992). Also travels’ sources have multiplied and they now include a wide range of mediums, from itineraries, to diaries, guides, reportages, movies, and video clips. Not surprisingly, the number of studies addressing travels has increased, especially in the last thirty years: several individual and collective works have been published (Eickelman – Piscatori 1990, Braudel 1992, Grewal 1996, Elsner - Rubies 1999, Dunn 2004, Schlesier - Zellmann 2004, Scranton - Davidson 2007, Trivellato 2009) and conferences and workshops have been organised (just as an example, Jews and Journeys 2012).
Despite that, and notwithstanding the huge amount of research conducted on the “Holy Land” - considered as a physical region, a political concept, a psychological dimension, and a sacred space - the issue of travels to the “Holy Land” has received less attention by scholars than it has deserved. And although the question has often been regarded as part of the huge debate on Orient and Orientalism (Said 1978, Behdad 1994), not many studies specifically addressing travels to the “Holy Land” have been published (among them, Zaganelli 1985, Doron - Cohen-Hattab 2003, Long 2003, Bar-Yosef 2005, Noonan 2007, Yothers 2007, Cavaglion, 2011). This volume intends to contribute to filling in this gap, by investigating travels to the “Holy Land” along three centuries.
Before entering the core of this call for papers, some preliminary remarks are necessary. The first one is the meaning of the expression “Holy Land”. Although problematic – it is obviously connected to a Christian perception and representation of this region - we believe that this term is worth employing for several reasons. First of all, it is a more neutral term to define that geographical region compared to others that are strictly connected to specific narratives, such as Eretz Israel or Palestine, that in the last century have been coupled with a pro-Israeli or a pro-Palestinian narrative. Second it encompasses the attitude of Judaism, Christianity and Islam to this region, which contains Holy Sites that have been regarded as a pilgrimage destination by Jewish, Christian and Muslim visitors for centuries. Third, such an expression has been already employed by historiography that has dealt with the issue of travels towards this region (Shandler – Wenger 1997, Kark 2001, Long 2003, Horowitz, 2007). In this monographic number, “Holy Land” is not considered only in religious terms, but is used as a neutral expression to define a geographical region that was part of the Ottoman Empire, then became a Mandate under the British and is now divided between Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
As to the chronological framework - though being aware of the existence of previous narratives regarding the “Holy Land” (Reiner 1988), for example the famous itinerary of Benjamin of Tudela in the XII century (Shatzmiller 1998, Shalev, 2010) - we have decided to begin our analysis with the XVIII century, when the number of travels to the “Holy Land” started to increase. Yet, it is important to consider as a background for this monographic number that common expressions and widespread stereotypes (both linguistic and iconographic) regarding the “Holy Land” were already existing during previous centuries, definitively since the beginning of the Early Modern period, when the Mediterranean region, including the “Holy Land”, went through huge political, economic, cultural and religious changes. For this reason, we welcome contributions that might clarify continuities and discontinuities in the perception, representation and construction of the “Holy Land” even starting from the XV century.
Finally, although migration to the “Holy Land” is clearly a phenomenon that highly influenced the way in which this region was presented and depicted throughout the centuries, for the purposes of this number we are not interested in including migration as a subject, given the huge quantity of historiography that has been expressly dealing with Jewish migration (‘aliyah) in the XIX and XX century.
More specifically, this number intends to address a series of questions, which fit in the following two macro-areas:
1) Travels and narratives. While this number’s focus is neither on the identity of the travellers that visited the “Holy Land” (pilgrims, missionaries, soldiers, merchants, writers, tourists, either individually or in groups), nor on the reasons behind their decision to travel to this region (religious, economic, cultural, archaeological, military, political), we want to understand how travellers described the “Holy Land” after they visited it. There are many questions that contributions might refer to. What perceptions, representations and narrations of the “Holy Land” emerge from the travellers’ reports? In what ways did these narratives change along the centuries and according to the different political, cultural, social, economic, religious background of the travellers? Were there common themes, words, and images in travellers’ descriptions? From this point of view, a gender approach is also welcome. Is it possible to identify any specific women experience and/or narrative about the “Holy Land? Did women’s travel narratives differ from men’s? What was the impact of travellers’ reports? To what extend did the travellers’ diaries have an influence on the general perception of the “Holy Land”? Did the Itinéraire de Paris à Jérusalem et de Jérusalem à Paris by Chateubriand (1810-1811) led to new travels? Were travellers positively or negatively impressed by the “Holy Land”? Are there other examples of people who were disappointed by the “Holy Land” after they visited it, as the widely known reportage of Mark Twain in 1867 (Melton 2002)? Were people who were interested in travelling towards the “Holy Land” in contact with real travellers? Finally, how did the “Holy Land” appear in the geographical maps drawn by different travellers according to their various backgrounds and along the centuries? What borders did the “Holy Land” encompass? Were there significant differences according to the various backgrounds of the travellers and/or along the centuries?
2) Non-travels and imagination. The “Holy Land” has also been imagined and represented by people who never travelled there. Sometimes, representation of the “Holy Land” had a major impact on the readers, even prevailing over the narratives of those who had visited it. This monographic number is interested in the relationship and the reciprocal and intertwined influence between travellers’ narratives and the representations provided by people who did not actually travel. Was the general perception of the “Holy Land” influenced by imagined travels more than by real ones? Were travellers’ reports different from the descriptions provided by those who did not travel? To what extend did religious, cultural and political beliefs influence the perception of travellers even following their travel? Was travelling to the “Holy Land” only a confirmation of a previously built perception, or are there examples of people whose imagination was challenged by their concrete experience? Given the religious, political and strategic role of the “Holy Land”, perceptions, representations and narratives have been produced not only by individuals, but also by groups, parties, organizations, and institutions, some of which travelled, while some others never did. How was the “Holy Land” constructed in a propaganda framework, at the religious, political, and cultural level? Did the “Holy Land” of the Christian calls to Holy War against Turks differ from the way missionaries (Anglican, Catholic, Episcopalian, Protestant,) presented it? What discourse was present in the Zionist narrative? How is the “Holy Land” of the Islamist groups’ literature of the XX century? From this point of view, proposals addressing topics ranging from minor groups of pilgrims, to State propaganda, to transnational and international (both governmental and non-governmental) organizations are welcome.
In order to address these topics, contributors are invited to use a wide variety of sources, ranging from written documents (travellers’ diaries, itineraries, reports, letters, postcards) to iconographic material (photos, paintings, drawing, stickers, maps), to more recent material (movies, videos, filmed documentaries, etc.).
Abstracts should be sent both to Serena Di Nepi (email@example.com) and Arturo Marzano (firstname.lastname@example.org) by February 17th 2013. Each abstract - in English, with a length of 400 words maximum - should have a clear indication of sources to be used (oral, written, documentary, visual etc.). A short CV should also be included. Notification of acceptance (or not) will be delivered by March 3rd.
All essays should be submitted by June 30th. Each essay will be double-blind peer-reviewed. Should a second submission be needed, deadline will be October 30th.
Publication of «Quest» n. 6 is expected in December 2013.
Bar-Yosef E. (2005), The Holy Land in English culture 1799-1917: Palestine and the question of Orientalism, Oxford, Oxford University Press
Behdad A. (1994), Belated Travelers: Orientalism in the Age of Colonial Dissolution, Durham, Duke University Press
Ben-Arieh Y. (1979), The Rediscovery of the Holy Land in the Nineteenth Century, Jerusalem, Magnes Press
Black J.M. (1992), The British Abroad, The Grand Tour in the Eighteenth Century, London, St.Martin’s Press
Braudel F. (1992), Tempi e viaggi della storia, Bari, Edizioni Dedalo
Cavaglion A. (2011), “Il viaggio a Gerusalemme e gli scrittori italiani: il caso Pasolini e il caso Montale”, in Schiavoni G., Massino M. (a cura di), Verso una terra “antica e nuova”. Culture del sionismo (1895-1948), Roma, Carocci
Doron B. - Cohen-Hattab K. (2003), “A New Kind of Pilgrimage: The Modern Tourist Pilgrim of Nineteenth Century and Early Twentieth Century Palestine”, Middle Eastern Studies, 39 (2): 131-148
Dunn R.E. (2004), The Travels of Ibn Battuta. A Virtual Tour with the 14th Century Traveler, Berkeley, University of California Press
Eickelman D. F., Piscatori J. (Eds) (1990), Muslim Travellers: Pilgrimage, Migration, and the Religious Imagination, London-New York, Routledge
Elsner J., Rubies JP. (Eds) (1999), Voyages and Visions: towards a Cultural History of Travel, London, Reaktion
Grewal I. (1996), Home and Harem: Nation, Gender, Empire and the Cultures of Travel, Durham, Duke University Press
Horowitz E. (2009) “ ‘Remarkable rather for its Eloquence than Its Truth’. Modern Travelers Encounter the Holy Land - and Each Other’s Accounts Thereof”, Jewish Quarterly Review, 99 (4): 439-464
Jews and Journeys (2012), Jews and Journeys. Travel and the Performance of Jewish Identity. April 29-May 1 2012. 18th Annual Gruss Colloquium in Judaic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. Herbert Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies
Kark R. (2001), “From Pilgrimage to Budding Tourism: The Role of Thomas Cook in the Rediscovery of the Holy Land in the Nineteenth Century”, in Wagstaff M., Searigth S. (Eds), Travelers in the Levant: Voyagers and Visionaries, London, ASTENE: 155-174
Long B. (2003), Imagininig the Holy Land. Maps, Models, and Fantasy Travels, Bloomington, Indiana University Press
Melton J. A. (2002), Mark Twain, Travel Books, and Tourism: the Tide of a Great Popular Movement, Tuscaloosa, University of Alabama Press
Noonan F. T. (2007), The Road to Jerusalem: Pilgrimage and Travel in the Age of Discovery, Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania Press
Reiner E. (1988), Pilgrims and Pilgrimage to Eretz Yisrael, 1099-1517 [in Hebrew], PhD dissertation, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
R. Rohricht (1890), Bibliotheca Geographica Palaestinae Chronologisches Verzeichnis der yon 333 bis 1878, Verfassten, Literatur uber das Heilige Land, Berlin
Said E. (1978), Orientalism, New York, Panthon Books
Shalev Z. (2010), “Benjamin of Tudela, Spanish Explorer”, Mediterranean Historical Review, 25 (1): 17-33
Shatzmiller J. (1998), “Jews, Pilgrimage, and the Christian Cult of Saints: Benjamin of Tudela and His Contemporaries”, in Goffart W. A., Murray A. C., After Rome’s Fall: Narrators and Sources of Early Medieval History, Toronto, University of Toronto Press: 337–347
Schlesier R. - Zellmann U. (Eds) (2004), Mobility and Travel in the Mediterranean from Antiquity to the Middle Ages, Münster, Lit
Scranton P. - Davidson J.F. (Eds) (2007), The Business of Tourism. Place, Faith, and History, Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania Press
Shandler J. – Wenger B.S. (Eds), Encounters with the “Holy Land”: Place, Past and Future in American Jewish Culture, University Press of New England, 1997
Trivellato F. (2009), The Familiarity of Strangers. The Sephardic Diaspora, Livorno, and Cross-Cultural Trade in the Early Modern Period, New Haven & London, Yale University Press
Yothers B. (2007), The Romance of the Holy Land in American Travel Writing. 1790-1876, Stanford (CA), Stanford University Press
Zaganelli G. (1985), La Terra Santa e i miti dell’Asia, in Storie di viaggiatori italiani. L’Oriente, con una prefazione di F. Braudel, Torino, Electa: 13-27
Milan, January 2013
La sezione italiana di Quest sarà online entro breve!
The italian section of Quest will be soon online!