Mapping Colin Ross

This website provides access to the findings of a research project on the Vienna-born travel writer, filmmaker, and lecturer Colin Ross (1885-1945). The project was funded by FWF - Austrian Science Fund and conducted in 2015–2017 at the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for History and Society, in Vienna. The research focused on the remarkable range of media in which Ross published his experiences and ideas and on the marketing, particularly by his book publisher, that assured his long career—from the late 1910s through the early 1940s—within German-language popular culture. His endorsement of National Socialism, in early 1933, didn’t affect his popularity domestically, yet it gave his work a more explicitly propagandistic quality. Colin Ross and his wife committed suicide in late April 1945 for fear of Allied armies’ reprisals.

"Mapping Colin Ross" literally puts two of his journeys on a map while at the same time mapping these journeys, his lectures and his involvement in geopolitics with topics crucial for all of them. The website contains an exhibition and a library.

The exhibition has two different entry points: Via Geo Map, you can follow two of Ross’s journeys on a geographical map through the articles and book chapters he wrote en route and/or the film footage he recorded. Via Mind Map, you can take a guided tour through 13 key topics and a selection of annotated objects (i.e. either books, articles, films, lectures or contextual materials) by and about Ross, displaying the ways in which Ross used—and adapted—the format of the travelogue to engage with contemporary political, social, and economic issues.

The objects in both parts of the exhibition are arranged by media types to highlight the intermediality and transmediality of Ross’s media production.

The Library collects all materials that have been retrieved over the course of the project: the texts written by Ross as well as coverage of his work (reviews, news reports, interviews, announcements, etc.), and the surviving prints of his films. Access to the library is free, but registration is required.

Frontispice image from Colin Ross' "film-picture-book" Mit dem Kurbelkasten um die Erde (1926)

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