Day School: Victoria Globetrotting - Curry and Taboo in the East

Ref: C3746966

In the mid-19th century, as new routes opened up, a new generation of travellers embarked on excursions to India, China and Japan – the Globetrotters. Travel operator Thomas Cook capitalised on this trend by offering an ‘Around the World Tour’ in 1872. Globetrotters sought to distinguish themselves from the ‘Cook’s Tourist’ by seeking experiences that were, to them, off the beaten track. Their published accounts of these adventures and the objects they brought back documented their journeys of self-transformation and also challenged nineteenth-century perceptions of the ‘East’. This talk will look at how they literally consumed the East by dining on ‘curry’ in India, going to the infamous restaurants of Canton or drinking Sake in Japan, in some cases breaking western taboos were part of the lure of these experiences.

Course aim

We will follow in the footsteps of early global tourists -- globetrotters -- on their tour of India, China and Japan in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. We are going to use food culture to consider the impact of their travels.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • This course is for beginners and improvers

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Understand how technological and political changes opened up the world to global travellers in the 19th century.
  • Understand how these travellers encountered the distinct cultures of the East, specifically India, China and Japan.
  • Understand how these travellers presented their experiences to the British public when they returned home and how this both challenged and confirmed Victorian perceptions of the East.
  • Consider how many of these travellers went on to create museum collections that still inform us today.

How will I be taught?

What kind of feedback can I expect?

What else do I need to know?

Have a look at two collections built by Globetrotters from their travels: Percy Powell-Cotton, Quex Park: Annie and Merton Russell-Cotes, The Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum:

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

What can I do next?

View full course information sheet

Day School: Victoria Globetrotting - Curry and Taboo in the East


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