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CECS Day Conference

Saturday 8 March 2014, 9.30AM to 5.30

Rethinking the Grand Tour: Questioning Cultures of Eighteenth-Century Travel


Often placed under the umbrella term ‘The Grand Tour’, the scholarship surrounding the eighteenth-century world of European travel has tended to focus on an evocative and memorable series of stereotypes: the luxurious art-collecting Italianate and Frenchified aristocrats; the xenophobic, splenic and sentimental middling tourists; and the sublime-seeking Romanticists. 

This conference will develop a more complex understanding of eighteenth-century travel cultures, questioning the relationship between travel publications, manuscript accounts and actual experience. How did different nationalities, ages and social groups experience travel? Was the British model of the elite Grand Tour applicable to all European elites and all travellers, or did differing cultures of travel exist? To what extent were they grounded in the same cultural, physical and visual experiences? How were issues, such as nationality, inter-nationality, masculinity, femininity, and politics, explored, performed and contested through travel culture?

This interdisciplinary day conference seeks to complicate the typically linear narrative of the evolution of travel culture and to interrogate established stereotypes. Papers will explore parallel, complementary and even conflicting cultures of British and European travel that existed between nations and across classes, genders and generations.

Confirmed Speakers:

Professor Simon Bainbridge, University of Lancaster
Professor Matthew Grenby, University of Newcastle
Professor Rosemary Sweet, University of Leicester
Dr Amy Milka, University of York
Sarah Goldsmith, University of York
Elodie Duche, University of Warwick

 Organiser: Sarah Goldsmith 



 9.00-9.30: Registration

9.30-9.45: Opening Remarks

9.45-11.05: Panel One

Rosemary Sweet (Leicester): ‘Why is the Grand Tour always about men?' 

Matthew Grenby (Newcastle): Juvenile Tourists: Children and their Tour Books, 1740-1840

11.05-11.30: Break

11.30-12.50: Panel Two

Simon Bainbridge (Lancaster): To ‘scale some mountain high’: Reaching the summit on the domestic tour.

Sarah Goldsmith (York): Animals, Servants and Masculinities: Writing about Danger on the Grand Tour

1.00-2.00: Lunch

2.00-3.20: Panel Three

Amy Milka (York): Strangers, Conspirators, and Englishwomen: Revolution Tourists and Satire in the early 1790s

Elodie Duché (Warwick): Grand tourists and captivity during the Napoleonic Wars: Their networks, societies and writings

3.20-4.00: Break

4.00-5.00: Round Table Discussion

Led by Michèle Cohen

5.00: Finish

conference paper abstracts (PDF , 207kb)



Now available at  Eventbrite   

External Delegates: £13.37. This includes admission plus tea and coffee.

Members of the University of York: Admission is free, but please register on Eventbrite.  You may also choose to pay for lunch.

Lunch: £5.95. (Optional) External delegates and members of the University of York



Thanks to the generosity of the Royal Historical Society, there are a limited number of fee-waiving bursaries for postgraduate and unwaged delegates. If you would like to be considered for a bursary please email a short (max 100 words) statement of need that should be sent to  Successful applicants will be notified and their registration fee will be refunded.




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Location: the King's Manor