Call: Travel and Imagination

Travel and Imagination [1]

Edited by: Garth Lean, Russell Staiff and Emma Waterton (University of Western Sydney, Australia)

Like so many words associated with tourism, ‘imagination’ is an accepted though somewhat obdurate notion. We accept it because it is, after all, something that is central to our consciousness and perception, operating almost imperceptibly whether we are awake or asleep. But beyond this, imagination also takes up an endlessly complex form because the term is linked to a constellation of other phenomenon: dreams, make-believe, fantasy, memory and remembering, perception, the ‘mind’s eye’, understanding, world-views, learning, story-telling – in all its many forms – and so forth. It’s a shape-changing phenomenon and it’s utterly central to the human experience. Given this, we see it as a concept key to both our everyday lives and the idea of travel and tourism, producing both ‘imaginative travel’ and the ‘travel imagination’. Surprisingly, however, there is a dearth of published material focusing upon the links between the two.

This Call for Papers is an attempt to ‘plug’ the abovementioned gap and open up new and innovative explorations of travel and imagination. It seeks contributions that illustrate how imagination becomes a part of, informs, is informed by and/or is represented as an element of travel. Crucially, travel should not be read here as something that is limited to a conceptualisation centred on the ‘experience’ itself, but to any temporal and spatial boundaries the writer wishes to set. As an initial, but in no way rigid, guide papers may consider the following themes: 

  • Travel fantasy, prompted by picture books, fiction, cinema, documentaries, art works, maps, virtual travel and so forth;
  • Travel and creativity: artists travelling to create, audiences travelling to see, writers travelling for inspiration, readers reading to ‘escape’ to imaginative worlds and so forth;
  • The itinerary as an imaginative act… imagination, plotting, planning…;
  • Science fiction and science fantasy: travelling to places that do not exist – literally places of the imagination;
  • Desire and the libidinous in travel/imagination (anticipation, day-dreaming, making dreams/fantasies ‘come true’, illusions, seduction);
  • Travel and imagining the life of…;
  • Making places/events/people ‘real’: travel as a way of anchoring the imagination in physical places, which in turn further feeds the imagination.

In combining these diverse perspectives, this volume will make an important contribution to a concept that has received inadequate attention from the tourism and broader mobility disciplines. It is anticipated that it will include chapters from established figures, but we also encourage expressions of interest from postgraduate students, too. We would also like to see submissions that consider perspectives beyond traditional Western and textual perspectives. A word limit of 6–7,000 is proposed for each chapter (including references).

Writing Schedule

Please submit chapter proposals (abstracts of up to 500 words) to the volume’s editors at by 23rd December 2011, with decisions by the editors communicated by the end of January 2012. First drafts of accepted contributions will be due by the end of June 2012, with the full manuscript deliverable by the end of February 2013.

[1]  This book proposal will be submitted as part of Current Developments in the Geographies of Leisure and Tourism, a book series of the Geographies of Leisure and Tourism Research Group with the Royal Geographical Society and the Institute of British Geographers (GLTRG) (Series Editors: Jan Mosedale and Caroline Scarles).

Garth Lean
Postdoctoral Fellow
School of Social Sciences (P.G.02, Kingswood Campus)
University of Western Sydney
Mail: Locked Bag 1791, Penrith NSW 2751, Australia
Phone: (+61) 02 4736 0350 (x2350) – Mobile: (+61) 0421 326 406 – Email: – Website:


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