2/18 – James Clifford, “Traveling Cultures” from _Routes_

“Traveling cultures. One could site many more examples, opening up an intricate comparative field. So far, I have been talking about the ways people leave home and return, enacting differently centered worlds, interconnected cosmopolitanisms. To this I should add: sites traversed–by tourists, by oil pipelines, by Western commodities, by radio and television signals.”

Question: In another version of this talk, Clifford writes “Travel is culture” instead of “Traveling cultures.” What is the relationship between travel and culture? In what ways does mobility speak to the limitations of travel?

“My point, again, is not simply to invert strategies of cultural localization, the making of “natives,” which I criticized at the outset. I’m not saying there are no locales or homes, that everyone is–or should be–traveling, or cosmopolitan, or deterritorialize. This is not nomadology. Rather, what is at stake is a comparative cultural studies approach to specific histories, tactics, everyday practices of dwelling and traveling: traveling-in-dwelling, dwelling-in-traveling.”

Question: How do we engage with comparative thinking to define Mobile Communities?

“I hang onto “travel” as a term of cultural comparison precisely because of its historical taintedness, its associations with gendered, racial bodies, class privilege, specific means of conveyance, beaten paths, agents, frontiers, documents, and the like.”

Question: How can we work alongside the binaries of travel to think about definitions of mobility?

We look forward to further exploring these issues at our next meeting!!!


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