UMR Geography-Cities, LabEx DynamiTe

Organized by Nadine Cattan, Clarisse Didelon-Loiseau, Anne-Cécile Ott, members of the Geographie-Cités laboratory and Brenda Le Bigot, associate member of the laboratory, the “Around the World” seminars aim to explore issues related to individual mobilities that explicitly take global space as a reference.

The next seminar will take place

Thursday, June 1st, 2023
2:00 pm to 5:30 pm
Condorcet Campus
South Research Building, room 1122
5 cours des Humanités
Aubervilliers (Metro Font Populaire)

and in videoconference :
Meeting ID : 912 4238 3321
Secret code : 923022

Guests: Jean-François Staszak and Gwenola Wagon

Making the world. First globetrotters and tourist tours of the world (1869-1914)
Jean-François Staszak
Professor, University of Geneva

Before 1869, it was hardly possible for an individual to travel around the world. But in that year, the establishment of transcontinental railroads in North America and India, and to a lesser extent the opening of the Suez Canal, changed the situation. It was now possible to travel all around the world on commercial lines, in acceptable conditions of comfort and safety. This did not escape Jules Verne, who published his Around the World in 80 days in 1872, nor Thomas Cook, who offered the first package tour of the world to interested tourists the same year. The word globetrotter appeared in Japan in 1873 to designate a new tourist practice, characterized by its global scale. Before 1914, tens of thousands of Western tourists travelled around the world. However, the practice does not only concern the privileged who have the time and the means to afford this expensive trip “for real”: a large number of textual and visual devices allow everyone to virtually go around the world, which thus becomes an iconic motif of popular culture.

To question this practice is to question the geographical imaginary and even the new regime of geography that it expresses or sets up, notably in its relationship with modernity and imperialism and more broadly with globalization. This practice has a performative dimension: by going around the world, for real or forged, the globetrotters make the space they travel through happen, giving it a reality, a coherence and a meaning. This one is however not the same in the United States, in England, in France or in Japan.
This research program on the first tourist tours of the world (FNRS) has just begun: its presentation will obviously offer more leads than results.

The Earth Metaverse
Gwenola Wagon
Senior Lecturer HDR, University of Paris Lumières

Ten years ago, I made a world tour inside the virtual globe Google Earth. The story composed of descriptions, analyses and reflections had given rise to a film-essay Globodrome composed of videos captured from their location in the virtual globe. The analysis, the reflection, the descriptions, unfolded as I advanced and wandered along the same roads as the characters of Jules Verne’s book, Around the World in Eighty Days. For the seminar, I would like to come back to this partial testimony, a fragile account of a race to the representations of the Globe as the playable part of the world.