Open Journal Systems

Transnational Subjects and Intercultural Identities: Travel and the Global South

Editors for this issue: Silvia Antosa (“Kore” University of Enna) and Elisabetta Marino (University of Rome “Tor Vergata”)

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For centuries, travel writing has opened up spatial and temporal gaps between different places, cultures and languages, often causing a sense of disorientation and destabilisation. As a narrative form, it has constantly challenged readers, and encouraged them to adopt new and different interpretative criteria. It cannot be easily subsumed under a single literary genre and cannot be ascribed to a univocal ideological or scientific classification. It changes form and language according to the cultural context and to the world(s) it describes. Travel writing adopts multiple languages and forms of representation and develops new perspectives on the world; readers are compelled to re-orient themselves in order to understand and imaginatively re-create the narrated world, or multiple worlds, to which they can – albeit temporarily – belong. 

Historically, the “South” has been identified as a space with shifting and unstable borders, open to multiple forms of representation and reconfiguration. It has long been connected to the possibility of observing and experiencing new forms of encounter which could defy and challenge Western normative sociocultural frames and subvert notions of gender identity and heterosexual desire. Women have often perceived travelling as an emancipating experience, as an opportunity to free themselves from the strictures of social conventions. Hence, their letters from abroad and travel accounts have granted them the opportunity to acquire an authoritative voice even on topics beyond their (supposedly limited) areas of expertise, while enabling them to compare and contrast their own condition with that of their foreign counterparts. In their work, the South may become a transformative and performative space in which they can express and empower their own narrative voices. If historically women’s travel writing has been consistently defined as more “confessional” (Foster 1990, 19) and “subjective” (McEwan 2000, 87), twentieth- and twenty-first-century women travellers redefine the intimate nature of their writing by reshaping the very form(s) they used. In a similar vein, by re-imagining the South as a space in which they could be freer to investigate their own sexuality and desires, queer individuals and sexual dissidents have also produced alternative narrative spaces by conflating existing textual forms in order to give a discursive shape to disruptive forms of identity.  

More recently, textual representations have varied considerably in form and scope. By focusing on texts written between the beginning of the nineteenth century and the present day, this issue sets out to explore a multiplicity of written, visual, and intermedial texts by delving into writers’ experience of the Global South (in the widest sense of the term). It aims to show how they have grappled with issues of identity, difference, cross-cultural encounter(s), and belonging. In addition, it explores how the (de)construction of borders, social orders and strategies of control may be accompanied by a more nuanced, deeper understanding of the complex interconnections that link geographical and imagined spaces as well as identities.

Special emphasis will be placed on the experimental textual and intermedial strategies authors have employed to challenge ingrained ideas about the superiority of Western civilization, gender roles and prerogatives, sexual identities, and religion. A multiplicity of textual forms and experiences will be interrogated, such as travel accounts, diaries, letters, fictional narratives of real or imaginative journeys, travel blogs, Facebook and Instagram stories, as well as inter- and transmedial transpositions of texts etc. A comparative approach and a diachronic analysis highlighting elements of rupture and continuity with tradition are welcome.


Abstracts of 300 words (in English, Italian or French) should be sent to: and in CC to: and, along with a list of references and a short biographical note.

For submission guidelines and further info please check our submissions page.


Submission of proposals: May 15, 2021

Submission of articles: September 30, 2021


Suggested reading list

Aldrich, Robert. 1993. The Seduction of the Mediterranean. Writing, Art and Homosexual Fantasy. London and New York: Routledge

Bhabha, Homi. 1994. The Location of Culture. London-New York: Routledge.

Fortunati, Vita, Rita Monticelli, and Maurizio Ascari (eds). 2001. Travel Writing and the Female Imaginary. Bologna: Pàtron Editore.

Foster, Shirley. 1990. Across New Worlds: Nineteenth-Century Women Travelers and their Writings. London: Harvester.

Kress, Gunther, and van Leeuwen, Theo. 2001. Multimodal Discourse: The Modes and Media of Contemporary Communication. London: Kogan Page.

Jenkins, Henry. 2003. “Transmedia Storytelling. Moving Characters from Books to Films to Video Games can Make them Stronger and more Compelling”. Technology Review (January)

Lewis, Reina.  2004. Rethinking Orientalism: Women, Travel and the Ottoman Harem. London and New York: I.B. Tauris.

McEwan, Cheryl. 2000. Gender, Geography, and Empire: Victorian Women Travelers in West Africa. Burlington, VT: Ashgate.

Mills, Sara. 1991. Discourses of Difference: An Analysis of Women’s Travel Writing and Colonialism. London and New York: Routledge.

Moe, Nelson J. 2002. The View from Vesuvius. Italian Culture and the Southern Question. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Pemble, John. 1987. The Mediterranean Passion: Victorians and Edwardians in the South. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Pratt, Mary Louise. 2008. Imperial Eyes: Travel Writing and Transculturation. London and New York: Routledge.

Ryan, Marie-Laure (ed.). 2004. Narrative Across Media. The Languages of Storytelling. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.

Said, Edward W. 1985 [1978]. Orientalism: Western Representations of the Orient. Penguin: Harmondsworth.

Silves, Mark and Giovanna Buonanno (eds). 2005. Cross-Cultural Encounters: Identity, Gender, Representation. Rome: Officina Edizioni.

Young, Tim (ed). 2006. Travel Writing in the Nineteenth Century. London and New York: Anthem Press.

Young, Robert J.C. 1995. Colonial Desire: Hybridity in Theory, Culture and Race. London-New York: Routledge.


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