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Borders and Crossings: A Transdisciplinary Conference on Travel Writing

University of Tartu
6-8 July 2022
Venue: Jakobi 2, Ta​rtu

Call for proposals

The 2022 edition of the Borders & Crossings conference series acknowledges more than two decades of intense development in the transdisciplinary study of travel writing, which is now a well-established field of research in the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences.

The 2022 conference will take part in a unique context: that of a post-Soviet and Nordic country situated in a European geographical, economic and political context. Estonia’s history is marked by successive occupations, which could arguably be considered as a form of travel from the point of view of the occupiers. These occupations have affected travel to and from this area, and generated specific mobility, such as deportation and diaspora. This context brings our attention to restricted travels and the forms of control at work when it comes to travel. Additionally, this conference acknowledges the emergency of the ecological crisis and the pressure that travelling can put on the Earth system. With these considerations in mind, we invite conference participants to reflect on the following themes:

  • Travel and translation, especially concerning “small languages”
  • Travel to/from/around the Nordic and Baltic countries
  • North-north, North-south, East-west interactions
  • Dominant and vulnerable travellers and travellees
  • Travel and decolonialization
  • Slowness and stillness
  • Familiar places and microspection
  • Human and nonhuman travels
  • Travel and the Anthropocene
  • Travel and nature writing, ecocriticism
  • Fiction and reality of travel
  • Digital and proxy travels
  • Travel and diseases, cure travels and places
  • Images in transit
  • Theories of travel and travel writing
  • Travel and gender/sexuality
  • Travel journalism, guidebooks and digital media
  • Craft and practice of travel writing
  • Heritage, pilgrimage and footsteps travel

The conference will take place at the University of Tartu and is open to postgraduate students, academics, and practitioners (inside or outside academia) interested in travel writing from a broad range of perspectives. With this conference, we wish to insist on the inclusivity of this field of study and practice and welcome proposals from but not restricted to literary studies, travel and tourism studies, media and journalism studies, creative writing, history, politics, sociology, and geography, with a focus on any time period and any geographical context.

Proposals are invited for 20-minute papers or creative pieces, and for 60-minute panels of three speakers or writing workshops. Proposals of approximately 250 words for a paper (up to 600 words for a panel or workshop), accompanied by a short bionote (no longer than 100 words) including your academic affiliation (if applicable), should be sent to (doc or docx format appreciated) by 1 March 2022. Notifications of acceptance will be sent by 1 April.

Although we wish for all participants to be able to attend the conference in Tartu, we plan for a hybrid conference so that participants unable to travel can still present their paper. A publication following the conference is planned but it will entail re-submitting an article abstract for a special issue in a peer-reviewed journal.

Deadline for abstracts: 1 March
Notification of acceptance: 1 April


Sara Bédard-Goulet, University of Tartu professor of Romance Studies (
Julia O’Mahony (

Cover image: Anna Guilló, enhanced Forward Presence (eFP), 2020.

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