ENGL 4802 Migration in Contemporary Literature

ENGL 4802: Migration in Contemporary Literature
Dr. Carrie Dawson
Fall 2019

Course Description
According to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, an unprecedented 68.5 million people were displaced by conflict, persecution, or generalized violence in 2018. What does it mean to live in a world where so many people are on the move and national borders are simultaneously more porous and more vigorously defended than ever before? Paying particular attention to writing by and about refugees and other forcibly displaced peoples, this seminar considers a wide range of contemporary literature focusing on the experience of migration.

With help from such celebrated writers as Mohsin Hamid, Nam Le, Ocean Vuong, and Jenny Erpenbeck, we will examine notions of state hospitality and insecurity alongside themes of diaspora, racialization, alienation, and cultural adaptation and syncreticism.

Likely texts:
Jenny Erpenbeck, Go, Went, Gone
Mohsin Hamid, Exit West
Rawi Hage, Cockroach
Ocean Vuong, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous
Dinaw Mengestu, How to Read the Air

Films:
Stephen Frears, dir. Dirty, Pretty Things
Philippe Falardeau, dir. Monsieur Lazhar

In addition to the above list, we will consider poems, short stories, and essays by Madeleine Thien, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Nam Le, Viet Thanh Nguyen, and others.