Traveling words and images. A study of tourist fiction and non-fiction of contemporary Spain and Latin America
This project focuses on the impact of tourism on contemporary fiction and non-fiction in the Hispanic world. While both Spain and Latin America can boast a long tradition of travel writing, tourism’s more recent impact on their cultures has gone largely unnoticed. This is due to persisting prejudices concerning tourism as an inferior, more mass-consumerist practice than travelling, as well as to a predominantly sociological approach in tourism studies. The project remedies this gap by focusing on tourist imaginaries of both fictional and non-fictional nature in literature and film, but also provides an interdisciplinary take on this cultural production by collaborating with a cultural anthropologist specialized in tourism. While the Leuven applicants will concentrate on literary and cinematographic renderings of tourism, the co-applicant in Antwerp will provide insight into how real tourists negotiate their relationship to the tourist industry, with special attention to the ICTmediated dimension of tourist experiences. As overarching research hypothesis, the applicants contest the idea that “travel writing is dead”, claiming instead that it has been transformed under the effect of the recent expansion of tourism and digitalization of contemporary society. The project will focus on three key-research sites for thi s topic: Spain, Cuba, and the Southern Cone.