Political Travels in Europe (Eighteenth-Twentieth Centuries)

Pierre-Marie Delpu (Aix-Marseille Université), Christophe Poupault (Sciences-po Aix)


N. 3 (September 2018)

Political Travels in Europe (Eighteenth-Twentieth Centuries)

This special issue of the journal Viaggiatori (www.viaggiatorijournal.com) seeks to examine the nature, the differences and changes of political travels in Europe (Russia included) starting from the eighteenth century, an era of transformation and intense mobility of aristocrats, scientists and beyond, until the end of the twentieth century. By globally examining facts and their occurrence imposed by time and distance, the aim is to frame the political, national and international travel as a central historical point not only in the dissemination of political ideas and experiences, but also for an improved understanding of foreign schemes including the origin of national and international networks.
Based on the research on groups and individuals alike, the main nature of this study relies on the examination of the function and goal of the political travel either from the start or during its development process. The actors approach and the type of travels will act indeed as valuable response indicators. A special emphasis will be therefore placed on those travels undertaken by the heads of State and Governments, Ministers embodying power or political advisers, activists, members of Parliament, journalists and journalists-writers committed on a political level as well as expert travelers and political pilgrims, politically committed intellectuals or policy-related tourist journeys. While this list is not exhaustive, it provides a plural approach with respect to travel preparation, organisation and specific goals, which cover the relational dimension - interaction with local people - the dissemination of research results and perceptions upon return with a special emphasis on travellers’ journey patterns and their objectives. Furthermore, each approach must rely on the importance of the examined sources that need to be hierarchically ordered (administrative documentation, records and personal papers). The diplomatic travel encouraged by the State in terms of its representative dimension along with the political exile, synonymous with forced migration or a protest against the regime are however excluded as they relate to other forms of mobility.
The aim of this paper, based on the latest historiographic contributions, is to question the potential differences between types or patterns of political travels according to the claimed concepts of the travelers themselves. As for the period between the end of the eighteenth century and the beginning of the nineteenth century, historiography has highlighted the characteristics of the ‘Republican travel’, established during the French Revolution in a context dominated by the Grand Tour. Between the two wars, and further on, during the cold war, the increasing interest for the authoritarian and totalitarian regimes allowed to better defining the true accomplishments and purposes of the journey. In this framework, we should therefore examine how travel arrangements were carried out and their inclusion in the political culture and how actors from opposite political backgrounds managed to share those practices.
In the spirit of this magazine, based on a multidisciplinary approach, all proposal from historians, art historians, anthropologists, political sciences or literature experts shall be accepted.

How to send the proposals

The proposals in French, Italian or English (2000 characters, with spaces), attached with a brief biographic presentation, shall be sent within November 15th 2017 to the following curators:

Pierre-Marie Delpu : pmdelpu@orange.fr
Christophe Poupault: cpoupault@hotmail.com

The proposals and articles will be subject to double-peer reviewing.

The deadline for submitting the final selected articles is on March 31th 2018 (45000 characters with spaces).


Pierre-Marie Delpu



Political Travels in Europe (Eighteenth-Twentieth Centuries), 15.11.2017 -, in: H-Soz-Kult, 10.11.2017, <www.hsozkult.de/event/id/termine-35641>.
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