Geographically touring the eastern bloc: British geography, travel cultures and the Cold War



This paper considers the role of travel in the generation of geographical knowledge of the eastern bloc by British geographers. Based on oral history and surveys of published work, the paper examines the roles of three kinds of travel experience: individual private travels, tours via state tourist agencies, and tours by academic delegations. Examples are drawn from across the eastern bloc, including the USSR, Poland, Romania, East Germany and Albania. The relationship between travel and publication is addressed, notably within textbooks, and in the Geographical Magazine. The study argues for the extension of accounts of cultures of geographical travel, and seeks to supplement the existing historiography of Cold War geography.