Centre for Transnational and Transcultural Research (CTTR) Projects

British Women's Travel Writing, 1780-1840: Communities of Authorship

Principal Investigator: Dr Benjamin Colbert

Project Team: Chris Veness, Movable Type Ltd (database designer), Mohammed Yasser (IT Systems Engineer), Dr Anthony Mandal, University of Cardiff (consultant)

Funding: British Academy / Leverhulme Trust (£5865)

Duration: 1 May 2016 - 1 January 2018

This project aims to restore visibility to 139 women who published travel books as authors, co-authors, contributors, letterpress writers, editors, and translators during a period in which women’s travel writing became established in Britain and Ireland. Original biographical research on these authors will contribute to our knowledge of the conditions of publishing, networking, and support that helped women become transformative presences in a male-dominated genre. The research builds upon and augments the Database of Women’s Travel Writing (DWTW), launched at Chawton House Library in July 2014, which aims to provide accurate bibliographical entries for all books of travel by women published in Britain and Ireland during this period. This final phase of the project will produce a biographical dictionary of women travel writers, expand the database to include new categories of collaborative authorship, and enhance the user interface to maximise open access to the research.


British Travel Writing, 1780-1840

Principal Investigator: Dr Benjamin Colbert

Project Team: Jason L. Musgrove (IT Systems Engineer); Chris Veness, Movable Type, Ltd (database designer), Dr Frank Wilson (Research Associate)

External Advisor: Dr Anthony Mandal, Centre for Editorial and Intertextual Research, Cardiff University

Duration: Ongoing

The culmination of over 20 years of bibliographical research conducted by the PI, this project is developing a publically accessible, fully searchable Database of British Tavel Writing, 1780-1840 (DBTW), comprising all known travel books published in Britain and Ireland during a period which saw the beginnings of mass tourism and the gradual professionalisation of the travel writing industry. The research has identified over 5,000 titles by nearly 3,000 authors, including 196 titles by women which are the basis for a pilot database published in 2014, Database of Women's Travel Writing.


From Kalahari Campfire to iPad app: Turning a San Oral Folktale into a Cybertale

Principal Investigator: Candi Miller, University of Wolverhampton (CTTR)

External Advisors: Dr Megan Biesele, Research Associate, Department of Anthropology, University of Texas at Austin, USA; Marlene Winberg, Department of Social Anthropology, University of Cape Town, South Africa; Lesley Beake, Editor, Kalahari People's Network; Young San Writers' Group

Duration: March 2012 - March 2014

The aboriginal people of southern Africa, the San, are justly famous for their oral story telling. This project aims to reimagine and recreate a traditional tale and publish it in various digital formats in order to model how this art form can be revitalized and globally commercialized. The e-tale will be transcribed in a San vernacular and retold in English. Notes on San history and culture will be an interactive feature. Other rich media content will include visual and audio material - a click consonant pronunciation guide, for example.The enhanced e-tale will be published as an app. for a tablet reader and as an iBook. It is hoped that rights and royalties can belong to a San organization nominated by the PI and San participants.


ALTERAE: The Linguistic Representation of the Other

Collaborating Institutions: CTTR, University of Wolverhampton (UK); Universidad Complutense de Madrid (Spain); Universidade de Coruna (Spain); University of Regensburg (Germany)

Coordinators (CTTR): Dr Benjamin Colbert and Dr Glyn Hambrook

Scientific Advisors (CTTR): Dr Thomas Dickins and Dr Aleksandra Galasinska

Researchers (CTTR): Josiane Boutonnet and Dr Irina Moore

Funding: Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación (Spain) (25,000)

Duration: 2012-2015

The general project aims are to explore linguistic and discursive features that fiction and non-fiction language users currently choose, deliberately or otherwise, from available yet ever-changing repertoires to construct self and other identity. The CTTR team will investigate transnational identity construction in online media during the London Olympics.

The London Olympics are a laboratory in situ for studying formal and informal discourses on foreignness, the foreign, national identity and character in online media and the related blogosphere. Compiling a corpus from a range of online media (representing various political and class audiences) particularly during the week preceding the opening and the week following the closing ceremonies, researchers will investigate discursive patterns and change in representations of the competing nations.


Caste Aside: Dalit Punjabi Identity and Experience

Principal Investigator: Dr Meena Dhanda, University of Wolverhampton (CTTR)

Funding: Leverhulme Foundation Fellowship (£45,000)

Duration: September 2010 – June 2012

This research into the experience of caste prejudice in personal relations faced by dalits (the ex-Untouchable Indian castes) in the UK and urban Indian Punjab seeks to understand, through the eyes of the sufferers, why the practice of caste hierarchies and caste prejudices persist. The killing of a Ravidasi guru in Austria by orthodox Sikhs in 2009, followed by wide-spread violent response in the Indian Punjab and the attendant surge for further separation between caste groups in the UK, prompt questions into the conditions for greater mixing, the complex role of overseas migration, and wider socio-economic and political factors besides caste endogamy.

The project will commence on 1 September 2010 and will last 22 months. It will involve interview-based field work in Wolverhampton, Birmingham, Coventry, and Oxford in the UK and in selected towns/cities in the Indian Punjab.


The Role of Leisure Travel in Identity Formation of Post-2004 Polish Migrants to the UK

Principal Investigator: Dr Anna Horolets, Warsaw School of Social Sciences and Humanities, Poland

Co-applicant: Dr Aleksandra Galasinska, University of Wolverhampton (CTTR)

Funding: Leverhulme Foundation Visiting Fellowship (£25,000)

Duration: September 2010 – June 2011

The project's aim is to study leisure travel of post-2004 Polish migrants to the UK in order to produce a more nuanced empirical and theoretical account of migrants’ experiences and identifications. The case of the Midlands will allow comparing leisure travel patterns across various social groups living in cities, towns, and countryside. Participant observation, narrative interviews, and discourse analysis of print and online materials such as tourist advertisement or travel blogs will be carried out to study economic, social, cultural, and ideological underpinning of leisure travel and migrants’ strategies of identity construction. The lived experience of leisure travel and meanings attached to it will be compared with the accounts and experiences of migrants’ work-related activities.


Spanish Travellers and the Material Construction of English Cultural Identity, 1837-1919

Principal Investigator: Dr Marta Nadales, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain

Co-applicant: Dr Benjamin Colbert, University of Wolverhampton (CTTR)

Funding: British Academy Visiting Scholars 2010 (£5783)

Duration: June-October 2010

The main objective of the research is to analyse elements of material culture described in the writings of a selected group of Spanish travellers who visited England between 1837 and 1919. These writings present a coherent and defined image of the English character based in large part on the travellers’ personal observations, but also influenced by prevailing Spanish stereotypes of the English Victorians.

Since direct references to stereotypes of the English are relatively scarce in the writings themselves, the project will analyse data (including newspapers, periodicals, policy and regulations documents for libraries and museums) in order to illustrate that the travellers’ contact with material culture was essential to their construction of ‘the English character’. By means of thorough documentary research the project will draw attention to the visit, the actual contact with the cultural identity described, confirming its predominance over existing cultural stereotypes in nineteenth-century Spain.