Lady Travelers

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At Epcot's Italy

In the nineteenth century visiting far away places often had much to do with affirming one's superior difference. The journeys described in the journals of English lady travelers in Japan or Central Asia do not much resemble today's travel. You (and perhaps servants traveling with you) imposed yourself on foreigners who made room for you but were not organized to present themselves as an "experience" for you.

In our image-saturated world destinations compete to attract tourists, selling themselves to a gaze whose imperiousness no longer stems from nineteenth century political domination. The empire of signs is the citizenship of the tourists whatever their political persuasion.