Michael J O Regan, Dr* - Dongbei University of Finance & Economics (DUFE)
A (transnational) counter-cultural imagination emerged in the 1950's, promising a better life on a global scale after the breaking down of systems of relationships (educational, political, social) during a time of societal flux. This imagination created new counter-cultural landscapes, one which appropriated 'moving images' of the 'east'. From this, an 'organized drift' emerged from across the western world to India and beyond between 1965 and 1975. On the surface it brought dispersed people together on a journey who wished to demonstrate their counter cultural belonging, creating a network of places that were approximate to their counter cultural values and way of seeing. By the late 1960's, the drift east itself evolved into an organized field of social practices, the hippie trail in particular capturing the imagination as stories, dress, airplanes, drugs, objects, money and ideas, all went into ?doing' the road east, tens of thousands coming to constitute a larger formation of ?drifters'. Becoming a mark of identity, the drift east was on the surface not inextricably linked to middle-class conformity and paradigms offered by their society relating to their age, nationality, background, and gender. This paper however, addresses the mobility of these drifters without glossing over their gendered dimensions and argues that the counter-cultural landscape they traversed soon became haunted and tainted for women travelers. The paper will argue that the social practices of mobility amongst these primarily westerners remained gendered; women travelers often rendered 'out of place,' the narrative and discourses predominantly masculine.