Applying Geocritical Theory to the Study Abroad Learning Experience


  • Michael K. Walonen



Geocritical theory, Study abroad, Literature Texts, Education abroad


In the face of the almost four-fold increase in study abroad participation over the past seven years, it is imperative to ask some pressing questions regarding how to optimize the study abroad experience, ensuring that students move beyond a superficially touristic mode of uninformed impressionistic response to their host locale into a more sophisticated engagement with its complex social, political, historical, and cultural particularities. In this spirit, this article presents an essay, which will use geocritical theory to inquire into the pedagogical uses and larger social functioning of texts that represent the places to which study abroad students flock in search of knowledge and experience. In doing so, it will ask what are some of the ways texts and the places they represent relate to each other, how do texts set up horizons of expectations regarding places to be encountered, and, as a function of these, how might these texts best be put to use in a study abroad educational context?


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Author Biography

Michael K. Walonen

Michael K. Walonen is a professor specializing in transatlantic modern and contemporary cultural studies, postcolonial studies, and world literature at Bethune-Cookman University. He is the author of the book Writing Tangier in the Postcolonial Transition: Space and Power in Expatriate and North African Literature and articles that have appeared in the journalsInterdisciplinary Literary Studies, Studies in Travel Writing, African Literature and Culture, and African Studies Quarterly, as well as the collections Geocritical Explorations and On and Off the Page: Mapping in Text and Culture. He currently teaches at Bethune-Cookman University.


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How to Cite

Walonen, M. K. (2015). Applying Geocritical Theory to the Study Abroad Learning Experience. Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, 25(1), 37–46.



Research Articles