travel_700From the beginning, humans have been explorers—constantly pushing, redefining and crossing geographic and imagined borders—seeking out “the ends of the earth.” We invite proposals for an interdisciplinary conference on the theme Ends of the Earth to be held at the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts at the University of Pennsylvania libraries on March 2-4, 2017. This conference, broad and interdisciplinary, will span the ancient and the modern, the technical and the spiritual, the real and the imaginary. We are especially interested in papers and interdisciplinary sessions that synthetically address these themes.

Possible paper topics may include but are not limited to:

  • Technologies of exploration and travel
  • Transmission and translation of material, textual, and cultural practices
  • Remoteness and distance in literature and film
  • The anthropocene and the limits of human-environmental interaction
  • Borderlands and the changing geographies of liminal spaces
  • Migration, both forced and voluntary
  • Pilgrimage, spiritual travel, and geographies of the sacred
  • Scientific exploration and the history of imperialism
  • The end times and eschatological journeys

Proposals for papers to be presented at the conference should include: the name of the speaker; the speaker’s affiliation if any; the title of the presentation; a 300-word abstract; full contact information for the speaker (name, address, telephone, email); the speaker’s one-page CV. Some funding is available for graduate students to offset the cost of attendance and lodging.

Proposals should be sent to Alexis Broderick Neumann ( by July 1, 2016. Participants will be notified of acceptance by the end of August 2016.

Image credit: Detail from Holy Land Travel Manuscript c. 1690 (UPenn CAJS Rar Ms 455)


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