The Roads to Oxiana: The Writing of Travel at the Crossroads of Asia (Panel II)

The Roads to Oxiana: The Writing of Travel at the Crossroads of Asia (Panel II)

Central Asia Initiative International Conference (Panel II)

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Duration: 1:38:25

From the medieval Divisament dou monde of Marco Polo to the modernist prose of Robert Byron’s The Road to Oxiana, Central Asia has been made known to the wider world through the medium of travel writing. To examine how the same space was represented in the languages and literary traditions of the many peoples who passed through it, this conference turns to travel accounts in Persian and Urdu as well as Chinese and English. At a time when Central Asia is increasingly drawn into political affairs at a global level, these travel writings allow us to map an earlier geopolitics that ranged from Qing Chinese empire builders to African-American Marxists. Through the polyglottal prose penned at the crossroads of Asia, the travelogues under discussion trace distinct stages of global connectivity by drawing together the age of camel caravans and horsemen with that of motor cars and airplanes. Focusing on little-known texts of literary and ethnographic no less than historical interest, the presenters explore the different meanings given to Central Asia in the far corners of the world.

Panel II: Post/Colonial Travels

  • Chair: Ali Behdad, UCLA
  • Nile Green, UCLA
  • The Afghan Afterlife of Phileas Fogg: Space and Time in the Afghan Travelogue
  • Kate Teltscher, Roehampton Univ.
  • The Rubicon between the Empires: The River Oxus in Nineteenth-century British Geographical Imagination
  • David Chioni Moore, Macalester College
  • An Afro-Planetary View of Central Asia: Langston Hughes's Writings, 1932-1956