Podcast with James Uden and Daniel Majchrowicz about “Worlds of Knowledge in Women’s Travel Writing”


On 1 February 1936, Begum Hasrat Mohani, famed Indian writer and independence activist, sends the first of several letters to her daughter. She’s traveling on the Hajj, passing through Iran and Iraq on her way to Mecca. Along the way, she writes to her daughter, noting the sights and sounds she experiences on her pilgrimage—and give us a glimpse into a different kind of travel writing, from a different kind of travel writer.



Worlds of Knowledge in Women’s Travel Writing, James Uden (trans) (Harvard University Press, February 2022)
Worlds of Knowledge in Women’s Travel Writing, James Uden (trans) (Harvard University Press, February 2022)

Those letters are the subject of Daniel Majchrowicz’s chapter in Worlds of Knowledge in Women’s Travel Writing, edited by James Uden. The book covers travel writing by women, mostly in the 18th and 19th centuries, as they travel through Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

Both James and Daniel join us today to talk about their book, and their respective chapters. In this interview, we talk about what makes these examples of travel writing so interesting, and what the genre of travel writing means today after two years of travel restrictions.

James Uden, Associate Professor of Classical Studies at Boston University, researches and writes about Latin literature and the transformation of ancient ideas in later eras, especially the 18th and early 19th centuries. He has published essays on a broad range of topics, including Catullus, Virgil, love elegy, travel literature, and ancient fable. His first book, The Invisible Satirist: Juvenal and Second-Century Rome (Oxford University Press, 2014), offers a new interpretation of the poems of Juvenal, showing how these texts responded to changing conceptions of Roman identity and contemporary trends in Greek rhetoric and philosophy. His second book, Spectres of Antiquity: Classical Literature and the Gothic, 1740-1830 (Oxford University Press, 2020) explores the work of British and American novelists of the 18th century.

Daniel Majchrowicz is Assistant Professor of South Asian Literature and Culture at Northwestern University. His research considers the history and culture of Muslims and Islam in South Asia with an emphasis on Urdu literature, travel writing, popular culture, and language politics. He is a translator from Urdu, Hindi, Punjabi, and Persian, and currently the director of the South Asia Research Forum. Daniel is also an editor of the forthcoming Daniel is also an editor of the forthcoming Three Centuries of Travel Writing by Muslim Women (Indiana University Press, 2022).

Nicholas Gordon has an MPhil from Oxford in International Relations and a BA from Harvard. He is a writer, editor and occasional radio host based in Hong Kong.