Introduction: Curiosity, Identities, and Knowledge in Travel Writings on Asia

Christian Mueller, Matteo Salonia

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedingBook Chapterpeer-review


The first chapter reflects on the nature of travelling as the paradigmatic form of human experience and its literary reflection in travel writings. In linking travels and experiences of human encounters, the chapter enquires into the relations between time and space by linking the historiographical traditions of travel writings on Asian spaces as readings of space across time with a critical analysis of the development of conceptualisations and inventions of Asian spaces. In addressing the analytical concepts of curiosity, identities, and knowledge, the chapter questions the dominance of an ideologically biased framework based on the Foucault–Saidian power–knowledge nexus that privileges the ideological assumption that imperialist appropriations of space are the human condition of travel writings. The chapter re-establishes curiosity as a human intellectual capacity at the centre of analysis to capture transnational space of encounters in which mutual curiosities complement the ideological claims for conquest through writing down encounters of difference.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTravel Writings on Asia.
Subtitle of host publicationCuriosity, Identities, and Knowledge across the East, c. 1200 to the present
EditorsChristian Mueller, Matteo Salonia
Place of PublicationBasingstoke
Number of pages28
ISBN (Electronic)9789811901249
ISBN (Print)9789811901249, 9789811901232 , 9811901236
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2022

Publication series

NamePalgrave Series in Asia and Pacific Studies
ISSN (Print)2662-7922
ISSN (Electronic)2662-7930


  • Knowledge
  • Curiosity
  • Identities
  • Empire
  • Orientalism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Development
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations


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