Beyond Calais: Michael Palin and the construction of a foreigner

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Abstract

In 1940, two expatriate New Zealanders, Hector Bolitho and John Mulgan, were resident in war-time London. Disgusted by the attitudes of Little Englanders towards their colonised compatriots, they remarked that the British are one of the least Empire-minded people in the world. 'I hate abroad,' somebody said. Another Briton once vowed that 'The niggers begin at Calais.'1
This statement, citing an un-named and perhaps even fictional source, is so tantalisingly provocative that it demands a sharp intake of breath. While most of us weave spiderwebs of communities and their others, it is a stark world-view that can pinpoint 'the niggers' from Calais and beyond. This paper follows a televisual journey beyond Dover and the English Channel, and beyond Bolitho and Mulgan's imagining. I explore a Pythonesque travel narrative to investigate how home and foreign lands are named, mapped and marinated in post-war popular culture and cultural studies theories.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEurope – Divided or United?
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of the twelfth biennial conference of the Australasian Association for Euopean History (University of Western Australia, July 1999)
EditorsFranz Oswald, Maureen Perkins
Place of PublicationCanberra
PublisherSouthern Highlands Publishers
Pages139-152
Number of pages14
ISBN (Print)0733407188
Publication statusPublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes
EventTwelfth biennial conference of the Australasian Association for European History - University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia
Duration: 1 Jul 1999 → …

Conference

ConferenceTwelfth biennial conference of the Australasian Association for European History
Country/TerritoryAustralia
CityPerth
Period1/07/99 → …

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