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Member Profiles

Professor Jim Boulton (English)

Current interest:  letters written by travellers on the 'Grand Tour' in the 18th century. Recent publication:  (with T. O. McLoughlin) an edition of James Boswell, An Account of Corsica, the Journal of a Tour to that Island, and Memoirs of Pascal Paoli (Oxford University Press, New York), 2006.

Professor Justin Edwards (English)

Interests: Travel writing and (post)colonialism, African and Asian travel writing, tourist and anti-tourist writing, diaspora, slave narratives. My Related Book Publications in the area include: ‘Other Routes: 1500 Years of Travel Writing by Asians and Africans’ (Oxford:  Signal Books, 2006); ‘Exotic Journeys: Exploring the Erotics of U.S. Travel Literature, 1840-1930’ (University Press of New England, 2001). My Related Articles in the area include: “Djuna Barnes and the Urban Travel Narrative”  in The Journal of Urban History 29.1 (2002), pp. 6-24; “Going Native in Robert Kroetsch’s Gone Indian”, Studies in Canadian Literature 26.1 (2001), pp. 84-97; “Melville’s Peepshow: Sexual and Textual Cruises in Typee” in ‘Ariel: A Journal of International English Literature’  (April 1999), pp. 234-50.


Professor John Harper (Music)

Specific interest: Thomas Dallam's account of his journey to Istanbul, via Algiers, Zante, Aleppo, Rhodes, Chios, and Troy; his time in Istanbul, including the Seraglio; and the return overland through Greece (1599-1600 - 14 months). Dallam, an organ builder, was part of a party from the Levant Company, and his responsibility was to be one of three craftsmen delivering a mechanical clock/organ to the Sultan. His account seems to me remarkable for its level of observation, its vitality, and its literary fluency. More general interest: Medieval liturgy, and the links with pilgrimage and with spiritual journey. Trade and ideas - and the movement of musicians in the early modern period.


Professor Andrew Hiscock (English)

My research interests in pre-modern travel range from the late fifteenth century to the seventeenth century and am particularly interested in the generic cross-fertilization in this period between exploration/encounter narrative, utopian fiction, the geographical manual, the writing of history (especially warfare) and the tourist guidebook. In this context, I am at present researching into the very varied authorial career of Walter Ralegh.


Professor Raimund Karl (History)

My main interests lie in the European Iron Age, extending into the early medieval period (c. 1st millennium BC – 1st millennium AD), with a stronger focus on the earlier half of it. I’ve published on aspects of road infrastructure, accommodation for travellers and vehicles, but also – and more interesting to me – on social aspects of travel and trade, including hospitality, fosterage and marriage exchange networks, hostage exchange and exchange of goods (short- and long-distance).


Revd. Dr. William Kay (Theology/Religious Studies)

My concerns are with Christian missions in the 19th century. There is some material on the University of Southern California gateway http://digarc.usc.edu/impa/controller/about.htm which give a unique pictorial record of the times. I also have interests into early 20th century missions which continued into Africa, China and India and elsewhere. The British Victorian missionary societies were concerned with the abolition of slavery while the later missionary societies disseminated education by founding schools which, in India at least, continue to this day.


Dr. Christian Leitmeir (Music)

*The travel diary of Otto Truchsess von Waldburg (1562–3)*: In autumn 1563 Otto Truchsess von Waldburg, prince bishop of Augsburg, embassador of the Holy Roman Empire at the Holy See in Rome (/protector Germaniae/), received a commission that was worthy of his reputation as one of Europe’s finest diplomats. Maximilian II of Habsburg, King of Rome (and as such natural successor to the Imperial throne), decided to have his children Rudolph (later Emperor Rudolph II) and Ernest raised by their uncle Philipp II. It fell to Waldburg to organise an journey from Bressanone (29 November 1562) to Barcelona (17 March 1563). Waldburg recorded the events of this journey in his travel diary, now kept at the Bayerisches Hauptstaatsarchiv, Kurbayern Äußeres Archiv 4459, fols. 187r-257v). This is an enormously rich source as it documents a broad range of issues from the technicialities of travelling to political, ceremonial and cultural affairs (including musical and theatrical performances and entertainments, which are otherwise not recorded). My project falls into two parts: 1. a complete transcription and edition of the source (with full commentary); 2. a close-reading of this particular journey and its comparion with similar travelling accounts of the time.


Dr. Sue Niebrzydowski (English)

My research area focuses on England in the later Middle Ages. My interest in travel lies in the intersection of travel, gender and spirituality and am currently working on Margery Kempe's Book (b. ca. 1373). Future plans include examining the dialogue between mappae mundi and John Mandeville's Travels.


Dr. Raluca Radulescu (English)

My research interests in this area are related to the topic of spiritual journey (my current project), in particular viewed in medieval romance (13th-15th centuries, though with antecedents as far back as the 8th c in some cases). I am looking at spiritual journeys in terms of inner development/religious practices but also pilgrimages, holy war, etc (including the religious and political use of the Holy Grail story, for example), hence in relation to socio-political conditions. I am also interested in maps and mapping, Mandeville and early views of far-off lands - which I am partially exploring in a postgraduate module I put together with Andrew (Hiscock).


Dr. Bettina Schmidt (Theology/Religious Studies)

One focus in my research activities is on the African Diaspora, with particular attention to the Caribbean and Latin America. African influences in Latin America are often overlooked but even Mexico and Peru, two countries with a large indigenous population, are influenced by African traditions. Working in the field of anthropology of religion I study mainly Afro-American religions, e.g. religious traditions and practices in the Caribbean and Latin American. Though the practice of African religions were prohibited during the time of the transatlantic slavery, the Spanish and Portuguese colonial systems offered some freedom for religious practices that supported the survival of African customs in spite of the suppression. Religions helped the development of Afro-American cultures. One research focus is therefore on collective memory, e.g. on the question how ideas about Africa were transmitted during slavery and what Afro-Americans today still preserved from the time of the transatlantic slave trade in their collective memory.


Professor Helen Wilcox (English)

Interests: seventeenth-century travel writing, and especially its relationship to other early modern literary modes such as autobiography, devotional texts and drama. Travel therefore features in my research in such varied forms as the autobiographical account of the Quakers Katharine Evans and Sarah Cheevers, imprisoned in Malta for their beliefs (included in Her Own Life, 1989), the pilgrimage of Helena in Shakespeare’s All’s Well That Ends Well (Arden edition forthcoming) and the fascinating narrative of Thomas Coryate’s European travels in Coryats Crudities (part of my current project on the textual cultures of the year 1611). I am also interested in the significance of imaginary journeys in early modern texts, such as Margaret Cavendish’s Blazing World (1666) and Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress (1678), and the importance of place to writing in general. Future plans include a study of Celia Fiennes’ account of her travels through England on horseback, c. 1699.

Recent relevant publication: ‘“Selves in Strange Lands”: autobiography and exile in mid-seventeenth century England’, in Early Modern Autobiography: Theories, Genres, Practices, edited by Ronald Bedford, Lloyd Davis and Philippa Kelly (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2006), 131-159.


Dr. Phillip Williams (History)

My research interests lie in two areas. (1) the development of capitalism and its relationship with the environment in Aragon, Spain.  Specifically with regard to the allocation and use of water.  Travel descriptions very useful indeed. (2) historians see early modern period as dominated by the advent of the state (sometimes 'composite monarchy' or 'dynastic state'), the rise of the transatlantic economy (Columbus & Drake et al) and the division between Catholic and Protestant.  (See Ranke and Braudel.)  My research looks at holy war in the Mediterranean and argues that the existing paradigm of independent sovereign polities does not work.  The crucial feature of the ottoman Empire was the Sultan's claim to be the Caliph, the Deputy of the Prophet of God.  The crucial feature of the Crown of Spain was the status of its Italian territories : Naples, Milan and Sicily were the jewels in the crown of the Catholic Monarchy.  In return for their investiture Charles V and Philip II swore an oath to the Apostolic See (sometimes Papacy) to fight heretics and infidels.  This explanation, and this explanation alone, can explain actions at Malta (1565) and Lepanto (1571.)  The emphasis should, therefore, be on vassalage, hommage, the division of authority - all legacies of the Middle Ages. Christendom was divided (in 1521, 1566, 1570, 1585, 1618, etc) by precisely the same overarching forms of power which saved it in 1529, 1565, 1571 from the Ottoman threat. Particular interests centre upon the political relationships between Pius IV, Maximiliam II and Philip II.