A new collection of essays, edited by Kate Averis (ULIP) and Isabel Hollis-Touré (Queen’s University Belfast), appeared in print at the end of last year. Published by the University of Wales press as part of their French and Francophone Studies series, Exiles, Travellers and Vagabonds: Rethinking Mobility in Francophone Women’s Writing examines the texts of Francophone women who have experienced or reflected upon the experience of transnational mobility.
Exiles, Travellers and Vagabonds emerged as a project from editors’ shared academic and personal fascination for mobility; with both editors having studied and partaken in human mobility, often engaging in international travel to unite their professional lives and with their personal ones. This intrigue with mobility is shared by the volume’s wider contributors. Their research spans countries, continents and, especially, the literary works that cross between them, mapping out the lives of a complex array of multinational authors: the chapters of this text transport the reader around the francophone world.
The collection’s focus on women's mobility, in particular, opens up new perspectives on the topic. According to recent research, 48% of migrants globally are women, a figure which unsettles the prevalent image of mobility, and the texts which accompany it, as a male-dominated phenomenon.
Dr Averis explains that ‘while travel writing, migrant writing, exile writing, and expatriate writing have historically tended to depict mobility as a masculine phenomenon, these genres are also found in women’s writing, where they form a rich and unique body of work. Due to the particularity of women’s relationship to home, the study of women's mobility opens up new questions in our understanding of the movement from place to place, and in our broader understanding of colonial and postcolonial worlds.’
Dr Hollis-Touré says ‘we put this volume together in order to unravel the deceptive and heavily mediatised commonplaces around human, especially women's, mobility, and offer a more nuanced panorama. Addressing the proximities and overlaps that exist between the experiences of women exiles, migrants, expatriates and travellers, the collected essays in this book seek to challenge the relevance or validity of such terms for conceptualising today’s complex patterns of transnational mobility and the gendered identities produced therein.’
Reviewers have commended this thoughtful volume for its diverse angles on gender, space and place and its unique exploration of many different forms of mobility (Professor Nicholas Harrison, King’s College London).
Exiles, Travellers and Vagabonds is available for purchase from a variety of stockists – please see the University of Wales Press for further details.