Undergraduate Humanities Forum 2006-7: Travel

Document Type

Presentation

Date of this Version

April 2007

Comments

2006-2007 Penn Humanities Forum on Travel, Undergraduate Mellon Research Fellows.

URL: http://humanities.sas.upenn.edu/06-07/uhf_fellows.shtml

Abstract

During the Cold War (1945-1990), many western travelers visited countries in the Socialist bloc despite the tension between the capitalist and socialist camps. Different visitors have different rationale in visiting the communist world: some are "fellow travellers" who consider the socialist bloc as a place for political and intellectual pilgrimage, some are trying to seek dialogue and exchange with the communist authorities, while some were just seeking to understand more about the culture and the people. Yet regardless of their rationale, traveling to this "semi-secretive" part of the world was always an exciting experience given the differences in the social, cultural and political atmosphere. On the other hand, western travelers were also important for the communist authorities: besides being a good source of foreign exchange, the journeys of western tourists could also be good opportunities for the authorities to publicize the "achievements of socialist construction" and instill in them an impression that the socialist bloc is strong and prosperous.

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Date Posted: 03 August 2007