Research seminar – Places in Mind: Imaginative Practices in Everyday Life

With Prof. Stijn Reijnders

15 November 2018
15:00 – 17:30
Rotterdam, Campus Woudestein (Mandeville (T)-building, room T3-20)

The presentation will start with a general overview of the ERC project ‘Worlds of Imagination’ and two related projects on media tourism. After this, it will zoom in on one particular sub-theme: the role and meaning of places in the everyday working of imagination. During my presentation, Reijnders will build the argument that imagination is a crucial part of human consciousness. It lifts us from our immediate environment and places our existence in a larger world that extends beyond our horizon, with its own past and future – a world which the individual feels part of and relates to affectively. This extension of the consciousness is visualized in a model and tested against the results of a small-scale, qualitative interview study. Based on fifteen in-depth interviews, supplemented with the results of random-cue self-reporting, the following conclusions have been drawn:

  1. all respondents regularly reside in an elaborate imaginary world, consisting of both fictional and non-fictional places;
  2. this imaginary world is dominated by places which make the respondents feel nostalgic;
  3. in this regard, the private home and houses from childhood are pivotal;
  4. the home is seen as topos of the ‘self’ and contrasted with an ‘outside world’;
  5. the imagination of this outside world emerges from memories of previous travel experiences, influences from popular culture and personal fantasies.

Moderator of the meeting: Prof. Maria Grever

About Stijn Reijnders

Reijnders is a full professor of Cultural Heritage at the department of Arts & Culture Studies, Erasmus University Rotterdam. His research focuses on the intersection of media, culture and tourism.

Currently he leads two large, international research projects on media tourism, funded by the Dutch Science Foundation (NWO) and the European Research Council (ERC). He has published many research papers and two monographs entitled Holland op de Helling (2006) – recipient of the national NeSCoR dissertation award – and Places of the Imagination. Media, Tourism, Culture (2011). In addition, Reijnders has co-edited The Ashgate Research Companion to Fan Cultures (2014) and Film Tourism in Asia (2017).