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Invitation to “The Graphic Tourism Geographies of the Liebig Company: Trade Cards and the Semiotics of Travel Representations”
by A. V. Seaton

    The Center for Material Culture Studies, the University of Delaware Library, and the Mark Samuels Lasner Collection at the University of Delaware Library, will co-sponsor a presentation by A. V. Seaton, Whitbread Professor of Tourism Behavior at the University of Luton and Director of the International Tourism Research Centre, University of Luton.  The presentation is entitled “The Graphic Tourism Geographies of the Liebig Company:  Trade  Cards and the Semiotics of Travel Representations” and will be held at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 3, 2007, in the Class of 1941 Lecture Room in the Morris Library and is open to the University Community and to the public.
About Professor A.V. Seaton

    Professor A. V. “Tony” Seaton received an honors degree in the Social Sciences, a Masters in Literature from Oxford University, and a Ph.D. in Tourism from Strathclyde University.  For over twenty years he has taught and researched in the fields of cultural studies, graphic history, and travel at British universities, where his main interests have been in media studies and popular culture, travel history, and travel literature.  Between 1992 and 1998 he was Reader in Tourism at the University of Strathclyde and in 1993 founded Scottish Tourism Research which acted as advisor to governments on cultural tourism, than tourism, and book town development.  The author or editor of five books, Professor Seaton has published numerous articles and papers, and is on the editorial board of two international tourism journals.  In 1990 he edited The Travel Journals of George Clayton Atkinson in Iceland and the Westmanna Islands, a book which the Queen presented to the President of Iceland as an official present from the people of England on her state visit.  A Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Professor Seaton has lectured and been a visiting fellow or professor in sixty countries.  His book collecting activities have led to amassing a library of 6,000 volumes on travel and graphic history, to articles in the magazine, Biblio, and to broadcasts for the BBC.  Current research projects include literary travel in Sicily 1773-1914; monasteries and monastic travel in British cultural history; the semiotics of travel and tourism artifacts; and completion of a history of travel associated with death, From ampulla to Althorp, for Hambledon History, London.

Subject of the Lecture

    This illustrated paper looks at the place constructions of chromolithographed trade cards.  It traces something of the physical and technical background, the audiences, and the coding strategies used to construct the tourism worlds of Europe in the 19h century. The Liebig Company's cards—intended to be collectibles and collected today as material objects prized for their aesthetic appeal as well as for their high quality or printing and design—offer a cultural insight into their period.  In a pre-television era, such trade cards and postcards were used not only for decoration, but served as a significant influence on the imaging of a wide range of subjects.  In terms of tourism they diffused images of peoples and places (including towns, rivers, islands, countries) that represented elements of the picturesque, the exotic, the romantic, which still underpin many elements in tourism promotion today.  In looking at Liebig cards it is therefore possible to identify ideological themes related to place imagery that are exploited in modern representations of destinations.

    The University of Delaware holds numerous resources relevant to the study of travel, tourism, and the graphic arts, including the Delaware Postcard Collection (http://fletcher.lib.udel.edu/collections/dpc/index.htm).

    The Mark Samuels Lasner Collection room will be open following the lecture. Light refreshments will be available following the lecture.

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