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Washington and Lee University    
  Feb 23, 2018
2017-2018 University Catalog archived

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REL 209 - Travel, Mythic and Modern

Credits: 3

This course approaches the subject of "travel" through a historically and culturally diverse set of readings: Narratives in which travel was interpreted and experienced through religious concepts, such as Ramayana, Journey to the West, shamanic soul travel, and pilgrimage; narratives in which travel has been clearly detached from religious meaning, such as Darwin's voyage on the Beagle and Nellie Bly's trip around the world in 1889-90; and examples of traditional and new-age "spirituality" in recent travel tales. Along the way, we study a range of academic interpretations of travel: phenomenological analysis of travel experience, advice on seeing one's surroundings, a philosophy of encountering "the Other," and sociological analysis of "religious" and "heritage" tourism and of college students studying abroad. Class is discussion-centered. An experiential component includes brief individual and group travel experiments (including a group rafting trip on the James River led by James Dick), travel "through" film, a panel of "professors who travel," and various journal assignments. Written assignments include the journal, individual research on a travel book, and midterm and final essays. Marks.

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