Research Group

Project team

Patrick Vincent is professor of English and American literature at the University of Neuchâtel and the project coordinator of the Swiss Guestbook project.  His research interests focus on Romantic-period cultural relations between Great Britain and the Continent. He is currently finishing a monograph on British representations of Switzerland in the Romantic period, tentatively titled Mountain Liberty: Republicanism, Romanticism and Switzerland.

His books on Switzerland include  La Suisse vue par les écrivains de langue anglaise (2009), Chillon: A Literary Guide (2010), a scholarly edition of Helen Maria Williams, A Tour of Switzerland (with Florence Widmer-Schnyder, 2011), and, most recently, an edited collection of essays entitled Romanticism, Rousseau, Switzerland: New Prospects (with Angela Esterhammer and Diane Piccitto, 2015).

Jérémie Magnin is a doctoral student under the supervision of Professor Patrick Vincent. His research focuses on hotel guest books in Switzerland in the nineteenth century and their use in relation to British travellers and the rise of tourism. Balanced between English studies and Historical studies, the thesis is co-supervised by Professor Kevin James, a history professor and guestbook specialist from the University of Guelph, Canada.

Kevin James is professor of History and member of the Tourism History Working Group at the University of Guelph, Canada. His teaching and research focuses on Ireland and Britain during the long nineteenth century, and also encompasses trans-national themes such as travel, tourism, and the history of the modern hospitality sector. His current research, drawing on old hotel books, explores the social and cultural history of the inn and hotel in Victorian Ireland and Britain. It extends his previous research program, which examined ‘tourist development’ projects in nineteenth-century Ireland and the intersections of gendered, racial and class identities in Irish travel writing.  His  current work on Irish hotel and inns and his previous projects on Irish and British tourism and travel history have been funded through SSHRC grants.

Kevin’s books include Tourism, Land and Landscape in Ireland: The Commodification of Culture (Routledge, 2014),Handloom Weavers in Ulster’s Linen Industry, 1815-1914 (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2007), and he is the editor, with Eric G.E. Zuelow, of Tourism Histories in Ulster and Scotland: Connections and Comparisons, 1800-1939 (Belfast: Ulster Historical Foundation, 2013). His articles and book chapters based on his research on guestbooks include:

  • « ‘Doing the Gap’: Sociability and Tourism Networks at Killarney, 1850–1914, » in Cultural Histories of Sociabilities, Spaces and Mobilities, edited by Colin Divall (London: Pickering & Chatto, 2014), 151-63.
  • “Sober Debates and Whimsical Inscriptions: Critics, Visitors and the Rise of the Grand Hotel,” in Grand Hotel: Redesigning Modern Life, edited by Jennifer M. Volland and Bruce Grenville with Stephanie Rebick (Vancouver & Ostfildern: Vancouver Art Gallery & Hatje Cantz, 2013), 40-45.
  • « The Little Big House at Gweedore: Inscribing Sociality and Space in North-West Ireland, 1842–1859, » Irish Geography 45, no. 3 (2013): 235-56.
  • “The Irishness of the Irish Inn: Narratives of Travel Accommodation in Ireland from Union to Home Rule,” Studies in Travel Writing 17, no. 1 (2012): 22-42.
  • “‘[A] British Social Institution’: The Visitors’ Book and Hotel Culture in Victorian Britain and Ireland,” Journeys: The International Journal of Travel Writing 13, no. 1 (2012): 42-69.
  • “Meeting Kate Kearney at Killarney: Gender, Sexuality and Performances of a Literary and National Subject, 1850-1914,” in Travel Writing and Tourism in Britain and Ireland, edited by Benjamin Colbert (Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012), 181-200.

a. Institutional collaborations

The Swiss Hotel Archives is a foundation whose mission is to identify and conserve historic archives linked to the Swiss hotel and tourist industry. These artifacts and documents will be made available, with certain restrictions, to the public, and must serve the purposes of research, teaching, and training so that this rare cultural heritage can be protected and shared.

b. Individual collaborations: Switzerland

Rafael Matos-Wasem, professor of geography at the HES-Valais, has published many books and articles, among them Territoire, capitaux et modernisation à Tenerife (îles Canaries), 1800-1914, Genève à pied : dix promenades à thèmes, Tourisme et vacances. Une machine qui change le monde et le regard (with Gabriel Bender, 2007), Política turística: La competitividad y sostenibilidad de los destinos (with Flora Diaz Perez and Christophe Clivaz, 2006), Le tourisme à Genève : Une géographie humaine (with Bertrand Levy and Sven Raffestin, 2002), and Population & Développement. Lexique multilingue de termes démographiques (with Claudine Sauvain-Dugerdil and Jean-Marie Le Goff, 2001).

Laurent Tissot is Professor of History at the University of Neuchâtel (1999-). He is a Founding member of the International Commission for the History of Travel and Tourism and member of its Committee (2002-), and also serves in the committee of the National Council for Scientific Research (2007-),  the Foundation Board of the Swiss Hotel Archives (2008-), and the International Committee of Historical Sciences (2008-). Publications related to travel in Switzerland and the Alps include:

  • Laurent Tissot  (sous la dir. de).  L’ attrait d’ailleurs [Ressource électronique] : images, usages et espaces du voyage à l’époque contemporaine : 130e congrès national des sociétés historiques et scientifiques, La Rochelle, 2005, Paris : Éd. du Comité des travaux historiques et scientifiques, 2010.
  • Gijs Mom, Gordon Pirie, Laurent Tissot ( Mobility in history : the state of the art in the history of transport, traffic and mobility. Neuchâtel, Alphil, 2009.
  • « D’une Suisse aimée à la Suisse aimante : tourisme, transport et mobilité dans l’historiographie économique de la Suisse aux 19e et 20e siècles » In: Traverse. – Zürich. – 2010, 1, p. 156-170.
  • « La philosophie du Saint-Gothard, ou, la naissance d’un profil touristique alpin » In: Il San Gottardo: dalla galleria di Favre all’AlpTransit : atti del Convegno internazionale di studi sulle transversali alpine svoltosi a Locarno, il 17-19 ottobre 2007. – [Bellinzona] : Salvioni, 2009. – P. 147-159.
  • Tissot, L. (Ed.). (2003). Development of a Tourist Industry in the 19th and 20th Centuries. International Perspectives/Construction d’une industrie touristique aux 19ème et 20ème siècles. Perspectives internationales. Neuchâtel: Editions Alphil.
  • Tissot, L. (2004). Le tourisme en Suisse ou l’avènement d’un modèle d’excellence (19ème – 20ème siècles). Globe. Revue genevoise de géographie., 114, 103-121.
  • Tissot, L. (2000). Naissance d’une industrie touristique: les anglais et la Suisse au XIXe siecle. Lausanne: Payot.

c. Past collaborators

Mattia Della Corte worked as a research collaborator on the Swiss Guestbook Project from January to June 2015. He created this blog as well as our databases on Swiss hotels and on extant guestbooks. He is the author of a MA thesis on Swiss traveller Jules Jacot-Guillarmod.

Dr. Katarzyna Michaelkiewicz worked on the project as part of a Swiss Scientific Exchange between 2010 and 2012. She notably researched and scanned guestbooks from the Zermatt and Lötschental area. Her thesis, entitled « The Alps and the Tatras: Mountain Representations in 19th and 20th Century Literature », was defended at Jagellonian University in 2014.

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