Foreign Languages & Literatures ETDs

Publication Date

Spring 5-13-2023


One of the most popular forms of travel “literature” consumed today is the travel-vlog. YouTube is awash in these travelers, the most successful of which even make a career out of their travels through monetization of their content, allowing them to pay for traveling by traveling. My project is a three-fold investigation into the nature of this genre, the first two branches of which are genealogical and diagnostic, the third of which is speculative and potentially transformative. My first inquiry examines the historical and generic conditions at the crossroads of travel literature and empire that have led to the present moment as well as the ideological implications of the representations that arise from this convergence. My second critical framework develops on the “post-cinematic” medium itself, namely its spatial and temporal representations by/of its subjects, as well as the social and economic network on which it operates. Drawing on critical approaches to cartography (read here as spatiotemporal translation at large), I pivot to an analysis which takes into account a potentially oppositional reading of this genre resulting from an unstable “polyscopic” spectatorship emanating from a refracted multiplicity of gazes transmitted to/from the primary spectator (the traveler/creator) and the secondary spectators (the viewers/consumers as well as ethnographic/anthropological subjects). Through a close reading of several vloggers, I ultimately ask whether this potential modality can ever be realized within the confines of a genre characterized by shallow cosmopolitanism, a commodification of destination, and the fabrication of parasocial intimacy.


YouTube, Travel, Tourism, vlogging, post-cinema

Document Type




Degree Name

Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies

Level of Degree


Department Name

Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures

First Committee Member (Chair)

Dr. Rajeshwari Vallury

Second Committee Member

Dr. Pim Higginson

Third Committee Member

Dr. Stephen Bishop