Czechs on Ships Present and Past: Traveling and Writing 1867-2016 – a seminar by A/P Jan Mrazek (Wed, 5 October 2016)

Speaker: Assoc Prof Jan Mrazek (Department of Southeast Asian Studies, NUS)
Date: Wednesday, 5 October 2016
Time: 4:00pm – 5:30pm
Venue: AS8, Level 6, Conference Room (06-46)


The seminar juxtaposes voyages of Czechs to Southeast Asia in colonial times and the speaker’s recent voyage by container ship from Rotterdam to Singapore. More a poetics of ship travel than its history, it explores the movement between, and the interpenetration of, past and present, imagination and physical actuality, writing and traveling, all at once. How can our own journeys help us grasp more intensely the experiences of past travelers, as well as our relationship with them, our nearness and our distance? How can old travelogues today enrich our perception of ships, the sea, the world, our travels? How is the past present, how is it gone? The seminar does not aim to theorize but to perform these questions. It is really just about ships.

About the speaker

Jan Mrázek is Associate Professor in the Department of Southeast Asian Studies. Related publications include “Czech Tropics” (Archipel, 2013) and “Returns to the Wide World: Errant Bohemian Images of Race and Colonialism,” to appear in Studies in Travel Writing.