Travel writing often involves the perspective of the author on the "other" spaces and people. While travel writing is exciting and inspiring for the readers, the genre is often connected with imperialism, colonialism, post-colonialism, orientalism, and other social criticisms on power and hierarchy in the perception of others. As a result, its positive impact on some disadvantaged readers, such as women whose lack of resources to travel very far from their places, is often downplayed in the academic field.

Taking as an example the Taiwanese writer San Mao, this project focuses on studying gender and travel writing in different cultures, particularly in Chinese and a different culture such as English literature. The goal is to find out how, despite the problems of othering, these writings can either discourage or encourage the readers, especially disadvantaged readers such as youth and young women, to imagine and pursue a dream beyond their daily mundane reality.

San Mao was the topic of this article in Quartz: The brave, tragic adventurer who inspired generations of Chinese girls to adopt her nickname

Research Questions:

How has travel writing influenced the perception of the world far from the reach of its readers? How can these readers be either encouraged or discouraged by these writings to change and/or challenge their reality? What can this type of literature provide that the visual media can't easily do? How has space been gendered in the travel writings?

How to Apply:

Please provide a brief, one-page description of your idea for a project. Include in that explanation why you are interested in this topic, how it connects to the theme(s) of Professor Wen's and/or Dr. Bourque's project, what your product will be (paper, play, interpretive dance?), and how you see the project as contributing to your academic goals.

Please submit your description to either Huike Wen ( by 5:00 pm on Friday, December 7, 2018.

Willamette University

Liberal Arts Research Collaborative

900 State Street
Salem Oregon 97301 U.S.A.

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