Mary louise pratt imperial eyes travel writing and transculturation

The first eight chapters of the book surveyed travel accounts mostly written between the s and the s. Travel Writing and Transculturation, Mary Louise Pratt studied the accounts of Europeans and European-Americans who traveled to European colonies and other non-European parts of the world from the early eighteenth century to the early Since the publication of The Travels of Marco Polo in the early fourteenth century, European adventurers, explorers, tourists, and scientists have traversed other parts of the world and written accounts of their experiences for European audiences.

Pratt's Imperial Eyes examines how, by the very act of looking, the imperial "seeingman " 7 — explorer or travel writer — desires, objectifies, and possesses the observed. She proceeds to demonstrate how, by their very objective and disembodied stance, the latter writers facilitated imperial expansion.

In this way, Pratt calls Humboldt a transculturator, since he transported to Europe knowledge American in origin, thus producing European knowledges infiltrated by non-European ones. Pratt is not a tourist in these areas, bringing considerable expertise in genre studies and discourse analysis to her project.

In this way, Pratt masterfully demonstrates how one must consistently read seemingly innocent forms of knowledge production for what they produce, including in this case, how they form European subjectivities.

She received her B. These illustrations of colonial travel by porter encode the subject of these books, the imperial reading of empire.

contact zone

This comes across most clearly in the ways that natural history formed a particular style of travel writing that aimed at territorial surveillance, appropriation of resources, and administrative control.

However, the book is fundamentally a study of genre, and the ways in which genre and various rhetorical, stylistic, and discursive practices encode ideology.

Pratt did not demonstrate how or if European travel writing in a major colony like India differed from southern Africa or Peru. It is in the figure of the naturalist that Pratt is able to most effectively illustrate how the protagonist of the anti-conquest is most often surrounded by an aura not of authority but of innocence and vulnerability.

Pratt details the dehistoricized views of pure nature in his writings about the new world, "a world whose only history was the one about to begin"and she speculates about whether Romanticism might have "originated in the contact zones" London and New York: She refers to this systematization of nature as an "anti-conquest," a seemingly benign even Utopian global appropriation While her concept of transculturation has not caught on in quite the same way, I would argue that her general approach to understanding imperial relationships between centres and peripheries has made an indelible intellectual mark.

The site of this observation is the vast literature of European exploration and travel in the other, exotic, non-European world.

Mary Louise Pratt

In this way, Pratt calls Humboldt a transculturator, since he transported to Europe knowledge American in origin, thus producing European knowledges infiltrated by non-European ones. In the end, Pratt argues convincingly that such reformulations facilitated capitalist expansion in Latin America at a time when Europe was searching for new markets, not coincidentally enriching the creole elite whose interests this process of transculturation solidified.

This was undoubtedly a groundbreaking approach to the study of imperialism at the time of publication, since it promised to shed light on resistance and the productive nature of imperial discourses.

Both books lie at the intersection of Victorian, eighteenth-century, and postcolonial studies.

Imperial Eyes: Studies in Travel Writing and Transculturation

London and New York: However, I would argue that overall, the concept of transculturation remains relatively under-developed. However, besides these telling observations about the outward-looking, disembodied and purposely apolitical male writers and the inward-looking, unabashedly political and embodied female writers, Pratt has very little to say about what effect these gendered forms of knowledge production had on imperial meaning-making.

Also, Pratt focused almost exclusively upon Africa and Latin America in her study. The starting point for the book is the midth century, a moment, Pratt claims, that denotes a shift in European consciousness, when bourgeois forms of subjectivity and power were consolidated and a new territorial phase of capitalist expansion began.

Although stylistic approaches shifted over the course of nearly years, travel writers consistently constructed an image of European ownership of the non-European world. Pratt attempted to draw continuity in European perceptions of non-Europeans over the course of years; however, Pratt skipped large periods of time in between some writings.

They make for unsettling but important reading.

Imperial Eyes

They focus on the European gaze on colonization and the ideological construction of this gaze. This allowed Imperial Eyes to be international in scope and scale. However, the final two chapters addressed only a handful of accounts between the s and the s.

What stands out most for me in considering her intellectual contribution is the way she meaningfully contributes to debates about the formation of subjectivities and selves in relation to imperialism, all while keeping her eye on unmasking discourses often understood as anti-imperial, or in the very least, altogether neutral.

Her method is to examine key passages in exploration or travel writings, to unpack the ideological underpinnings of their rhetoric, and to seek out traces of colonial discourse in postcolonial writing. In this way, Pratt masterfully demonstrates how one must consistently read seemingly innocent forms of knowledge production for what they produce, including in this case, how they form European subjectivities.

Part two of Imperial Eyes centers on Pratt's account of Alexander von Humboldt's thirty volume reimagining of America in the early nineteenth century. Both were practicing Muslims, but she was from southern California, sometimes regarded by northerners as too laid-back.

Pratt frames her argument with an anecdote from a multicultural wedding: Imperial Eyes, Travel Writing and Transculturation. For example, by focusing upon the language, presentation, and imagery of the naturalist writings of Anders Sparrman, Pratt revealed how Sparrman constructed an image of southern Africa freely open to European domination.

The study of travel writing has, however, remained either naively celebratory or dismissive, treating texts as symptoms of imperial ideologies. Imperial Eyesexplores European travel and exploration writing, in connection with European economic and political expansion since Book: Imperial Eyes: Travel Writing and Transculturation Author: Mary Louise Pratt Date: Pages: Format: PDF Language: English ISBN Updated and expanded throughout with new illustrations and new material, this is the long- awaited second edition of a highly acclaimed and interdisciplinary book which quickly established itself as a.

In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content. 90Victorian Review Mary Louise Pratt. Imperial Eyes, Travel Writing and Transculturation. London and New York: Routledge, xii + $ US (paper). Imperial Eyes: Studies in Travel Writing and Transculturation ().

The essay that follows was revised to serve as the introduction to Imperial Eyes, which. MARY LOUISE PRATT is particularly about European travel writing in the eighteenth and nineteenth cen.

Mary Louise Pratt's term in Imperial Eyes: Travel Writing and Transculturation () for social places (understood geographically) and spaces (understood ethnographically) where disparate cultures meet and try to come to terms with each other.

Feb 21,  · Imperial Eyes: Travel Writing and Transculturation. Mary Louise Pratt. London and New York: Routledge. pages. In the introduction to her thorough investigation of the ways in which travel writing helped to produce subject positions for diverse individuals within imperialism, Mary Louise Pratt relates two stories: the first, the story of her strange rural.

Mary louise pratt imperial eyes travel writing and transculturation
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Imperial Eyes: Travel Writing and Transculturation, 2nd Edition (Paperback) - Routledge