Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts
Wheaton College


English 101 Section A17. Writing About Travel, Tourism and Exploration

At some point in our lives, we have all traveled somewhere new and unfamiliar—a new country, a new school, or a new neighborhood. This course examines what it means to travel and explore: What motivates people to seek out the new? How do people navigate unfamiliar places or cultures? What resources are relied upon or given authority by travelers in unknown terrain? And how does a traveler influence the places to which he or she travels?

To think through these questions, we will read works by a diversity of authors, including Henry James, Rudyard Kipling, Mary Kingsley, David Foster Wallace, and Pico Ayer. Alongside these stories, travel narratives, and novels, we will also examine texts we tend to take for granted, such as the guidebook, the brochure, the map, and the signboard. In doing so, we will pay particular attention to the form, as well as the content, of each text. We will ask: what opinions or viewpoints are implicitly conveyed or endorsed in seemingly objective travel aids? How does writing style affect our perception of the authority, impartiality, and reasonableness of a given text? How does a writer achieve his or her intended effect? What kinds of ideas or experiences are most effectively expressed by which writing styles?