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Navigating Our Website

This website has been designed over the course of the Spring 2019 semester by Swarthmore College students in Professor Megan Brown’s course “Holidays in the Empire.”  Sarah Elichko and Nabil Kashyap of Swarthmore College Libraries have been essential in creating our interface and helping us to navigate and develop it.

The core of the site is the “Guidebooks” tab. Our class was divided into groups in order to closely read, analyze, and contextualize 4 guidebooks written in the 19th and 20th centuries. We used these books to consider the relationship between tourism from Europe and the reinforcement of European imperialism. We utilized class readings and discussions in order to examine imperialist ideology and evidence of the European “Western Gaze” within the writing of the guides.

The interactive map on our site contains pins which mark sites from each guidebook, such as cities, mosques, and markets. Clicking on a pin will pull up information about the site itself, as well as some brief framing of how the authors of the guides presented that information. Many of these pins will also include links to an appropriate page in the “Guidebooks” section with additional details.  Pins are marked by symbols, for which a key is present below the map, designating the content as relating to different categories (“people,” “geography and infrastructure,” “local encounters,” etc.). In addition, the “Items” tab contains images and descriptions from both guidebooks and referenced locations in the present day. In order to clarify for a wider audience some of the terms and scholars throughout the website, we have also included links to an alphabetized glossary.

Our hope is that this website will help people to learn more about the ways in which tourism and imperialism were interconnected and the lasting impact of European colonial policies.


About the Course

Holidays in the Empire offers an exploration into how Europeans traveled, where they went, and what motivated such travels. In this course, we examined and discussed secondary literature focusing on how Europeans spent their time abroad, and we used guidebooks produced in the era of modern tourism to further investigate details of these endeavors. Often, these guidebooks positioned their destinations and the people who occupy them as the “Other,” a concept developed by Edward Said. Orientalism, as this became known as according to Said, aims to highlight and distort the differences in the Other, a feature found prominently in guidebooks. Racist and exploitive rhetoric permeates these pieces, and in this course we created a website designed to visualize and chronicle our findings from these guidebooks.