Women Travellers in the Orient

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Why has the 'Orient' fascinated Western travellers across the past centuries? What were the experiences of women travellers in the East, specifically in the Islamic world, and how did they respond to a sphere that was largely defined in terms of the masculine imagination, with the harem as one of its main attractions? After an in-depth introduction to the field of Orientalism, including selected theoretical texts, excerpts from early travel reports as well as Orientalist paintings, we will read and discuss Lady Mary Wortley Montagu's famous Turkish Embassy Letters, written in 1716-18 by the first Western woman to publish an account of her visits to Ottoman harems and the Turkish bath. Further sessions will focus on a selection of texts by women travellers of the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries, including Freya Stark's sketches on her extensive travels in Persia and Iraq in the late 1920s and 1930s. Texts Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, The Turkish Embassy Letters (Virago ed.) Freya Stark, The Valley of the Assassins and Other Persian Travels (Modern Library Paperbacks) Freya Stark, Baghdad Sketches (Marlboro Press ed.) A reader with further material will be available at Kopiersysteme Priebe (Segerothstr.) at the beginning of the semester. Participants will prepare presentations on selected topics during the semester; master students are required to produce additional written course work.

Anglistik Universität Duisburg-Essen WS 2012/13 LBK, Lehramt an Berufskollegs Professorin Plummer Patricia