A non-colonial Orientalism? Czech travelers to the Orient, 1890-1938Sarah Lemmen, University of Vienna
Thursday, 11 October, 17:30 Central European University, Nádor u. 13. Room 001
By the end of the 19th century, travels to the Orient had become popular among the European middle class, including an ever growing participation of Czech travelers. It is during this time of both extensive globalization and intensive nationalization processes, that long-distance travelling may be considered a place of reflection on questions of national identity in a global context.
Sarah Lemmen is Research Associate at the Department of East European History at the University of Vienna. After her studies of history and Czech cultural studies at the universities of Leipzig and Prague, she worked at various research institutions and foundations in Berlin, Chemnitz, Leipzig, and Vienna, focusing on East Central European history, transnational history, the history of travel and tourism, and on Gender history. Currently, she works on her PhD project on “Representations of the non-European world in the Czech society, 1890-1938”.
Taking this as a starting point, the lecture will focus on Czech travelers to Africa and Asia from the end of the 19th century to the final years of the Interwar period, whereby discussing the traveler’s reflections on the European Self and the Oriental Other, on colonialism and civilization, and on the role of the Czech nation in a global context. Without any direct colonial involvement of its own, the global position of the Czech society was by no means certain and had to be negotiated both in terms of a “small nation” throughout the Habsburg Monarchy and, consecutively, as the national majority in the newly founded Czechoslovak republic.