Mapping the mosaic: Travel writers and the construction of urban imaginaries of Prague and Breslau, 1700-1914

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2013-01-01
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Jameson, Robert
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James Andrews
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History
The Department of History seeks to provide students with a knowledge of historical themes and events, an understanding of past cultures and social organizations, and also knowledge of how the past pertains to the present.

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The Department of History was formed in 1969 from the division of the Department of History, Government, and Philosophy.

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From the early 18th century to the beginning of World War One, travel writers from Western Europe and North America interacted with and sustained a genre of travel writing that imposed legibility and external schemes of order on Central European cities like Prague and Breslau. By simplifying or ignoring complex populations, environments and ongoing processes of change in these cities, Western travel writers collectively created imaginary constructions of Prague and Breslau that diverged from these historical urban spaces in ways that reveal travel writers' prejudices and the ideological scaffolding that underpins travel writing as a genre. This argument makes an important contribution to historians' understanding of the objectivity of travel narratives as source material and to the larger question of the empirical limits outsiders experience when encountering foreign environments.

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Tue Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2013