On 22nd September, 2017, Nottingham Trent University’s Centre for Travel Studies (CTWS) hosted the third Network of American Periodical Studies (NAPS) symposium. The event was organised by the CTWS’s Professor Tim Youngs and Dr Rebecca Butler with NAPS’ Dr Victoria Bazin (Northumbria University) and Dr Sue Currell (University of Sussex). A grant from BAAS’s conference support scheme enabled contributions to the expenses of postgraduate presenters Shannon Derby (Tufts University) and Josefin Holmstrom (University of Cambridge).
Keynote speaker, Professor Andrew Thacker (NTU), framed his discussion of modernist magazine Broom and its travels in Europe with the suggestion that several of the magazines journeyed to, interacted with and then departed from Europe in ways similar to US writers who spent time there.
In the first panel, ‘Tourism and Emigration in Periodicals’, chaired by Sue Currell, Shannon Derby focused in ‘Tourism Narratives and the Production of Paradise’, on Wells Tower’s account in The New York Times Magazine of his vacation to Oahu and Hawaii Island. Dr Claire Lindsay (University College London) spoke on Mexican Folkways and analysed its use of tourism advertisements in post-Revolutionary Mexico. Dr Mieke Neyens (KU Leuven) considered reports on Mexico between 1907 and 1940 in the state-funded emigrant periodical Nordmannsforbundet as it sought to build a sense of national pride while trying not to paint so positive a picture that Norway would lose more of its population to emigration.
The second panel, ‘Black Travel Writing and Periodicals’, chaired by Dr Nick Grant (University of East Anglia), began with PhD student Sofia Aatkar (NTU) discussing Jamaica Kincaid’s ‘On Seeing England for the First Time’, published in Transition (in 1991). Aatkar deployed John Locke’s notion of ‘motivity’ as a way of considering the diasporic subject moving between the US the UK and the Caribbean. Dr Rachel Farebrother (Swansea University) discussed ‘Travel Writing in the Brownies’ Book, 1920-1921’, analysing in particular W.E.B. DuBois’ column, ‘As the Crow Flies’ and the connections between African-American struggles for civil rights and Pan African movements. Dr Jak Peake (University of Essex), focusing on the significance of the Caribbean, and considering connections with New York, made the point in his paper that in the 1910s-1920s the vast majority of Black American travel writing was published in short form in periodicals such as the Nation, the Messenger, the New York Amsterdam News and the (Harlem) Liberator.
In the final panel, ‘Genres, Form and Location’, chaired by NTU’s Dr Stephanie Palmer, Josefin Holmstrom (University of Cambridge) discussed the serialisation of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Agnes of Sorrento in the Atlantic Monthly between 1861-1862. Matthew Pethers (University of Nottingham) examined the presentation of travel in Royall Tyler’s picaresque novel, The Algerine Captive (1797) and the novel’s own transatlantic journey with its serialisation in Lady’s Magazine. Dr Eric White (Oxford Brookes University), concentrating on Globe and the New Review, highlighted tensions between the translocal and the cislocal in modernist magazines, questioning assumptions that their cosmopolitanism is ‘frictionless’.
In closing, Tim Youngs welcomed the symposium’s contribution to an understanding both of North American travel and magazines and to the relationship between medium, form and travel account. ‘Magazines on the move’ offered a stimulating meeting between periodical and travel writing studies that we hope will further research within American Studies and beyond. The organisers are grateful to all participants and attendees and to BAAS for its financial support.
Tim Youngs is a Professor in the School of Arts & Humanities at Nottingham Trent University and the Director of NTU’s Centre for Travel Writing Studies.