English 2041--Assignment #2--Critique of a Travel Article

Topic -- Critique a travel article that we have read in class using perspectives presented in critical commentary by Holland and Huggan and Debbie Lisle.  Choose two assertions made by Holland & Huggan and four by Lisle and show how these assertions are illustrated in the travel article you've chosen.  (See list of assertions below).  BE SURE you understand what the authors are arguing.  These are complex concepts.

This paper is to be written in traditional expository format (introduction, body, conclusion).

Length:  750-1,000 words

Format:  Be sure you essay has an engaging lead sentence and introduction.  Use an appropriate introductory device.  The introduction should end with a thesis sentence which responds to the paper topic (above).  The body of the paper should offer proof for your opinion by using appropriate quotations from the texts and then explaining them.  The conclusion should not be a summary--your paper is too short for such repetitiveness.  See class web page for introduction/conclusion suggestions.


Odds and Ends

Be sure to name the "article," Magazine, and author you will critique in in your introduction.

For more information, check the editing sheet for this assignment.


Some Assertions Proposed by Holland and Huggan and Lisle:

First of all, know that all three scholars are "social constructivists," believing that "discourse" shapes who we are as well as our material reality.  These scholars use "discourse" in the broad sense of that term to mean all cultural forms coming to us through language. They accept Foucault's notion of discourse in that it contains, at the same time, repressive formations of power and resistant formations to that power.  In other words discourse shapes our material existence, and we shape our material existence through discourse and our actions based on discourse. 

Holland and Huggan:

Travel writing aids in the commodification/Disneyfication/trinketization of culture through its promotion of the business of tourism and it's consequent reduction and distortion of cultural forms.
Travel writing can reproduce a foreign world as an object of western knowledge; it can be blind to the cultural filter through which "others" are judged.
Tourism causes ecological damage and destroys indigenous cultures.
Travel writers focus on self growth is at "others" expense; the other becomes a mere backdrop for a personal quest.
Travel writers often assume universal human freedoms and mobility in spite of differences of gender, race, class, nationality, political freedom.  They do not recognize their often privileged position in their narratives.


Travel narratives do not use meta-narratives to comment on their construction or perspective.  They are too often written from a disingenuous "neutral and objective" vantage point.
Too much travel writing ignores political and economic conflicts in the country visited.  This depoliticized discourse paints an unrealistically optimistic picture of the country observed.
Travel writing does not acknowledge any ethical or political responsibility to the "other."
Travel writers too often present national boundaries as stable geo-political entities, ignoring the complex, contingent formations of power they are.
Travel writing does not allow others to speak for themselves or define the terms for cross-cultural encounters
Travel writers promote a linear, progressive understanding of history in which our country/civilization is at the apex of human development and others should aspire to it.
Travel is depicted as an apolitical practice.

Travel writing too often ignores important rhetorical considerations such as WHO is framing communication, WHO is receiving messages and WHO is bring written about.

Travel writing legitimates new forms of global exclusion, dominations and violence, perpetuating the same structures of power that lead to child prostitution, environmental destruction and terrorism.  One way this legitimization occurs is through the construction of false dichotomies (binaries) such as