ENGLISH 317 - Literature and Culture
Section: 002 The Literature of the Refugee
Term: WN 2018
Subject: English Language and Literature (ENGLISH)
Department: LSA English Language & Literature
Requirements & Distribution:
Waitlist Capacity:
With permission of instructor.
May be repeated for a maximum of 6 credit(s). May be elected more than once in the same term.
Primary Instructor:

Refugees are too often treated as invisible peoples: without a home, a history, a future, or a politics. This course contests those assumptions. It introduces students to an extraordinary archive of literature written by and about refugees, migrants, and stateless peoples over the last century. Readings will include novels, poems, essays, films, art, and performances from writers originating in South Africa, Italy, Greece, China, Botswana, Palestine, Kenya, Vietnam, Israel, Morocco, Somalia, Britain, Germany, and the United States. Through readings, class discussions, and written and oral assignments, students will rethink some of the most important topics in contemporary life: security, humanity, borders, mobility, the human, the state, race, class, and citizenship.

Readings will be drawn from some of the following texts, many of them contemporary:

  • Chris Cleave Little Bee (2008)
  • Viet Thahn Nguyen The Refugees (2017)
  • Bessie Head A Question of Power (1973)
  • Ayelet Gunder–Goshen, Waking Lions (2016)
  • Dave Eggers What is the What (2007)
  • Shailja Patel Migritude (2012)
  • Joe Sacco Palestine (2001)
  • Russell Banks Continental Drift (1985)
  • Jenney Erpenbeck Go Went (2017)
  • Course Requirements:

    Two Short Essays; bi-weekly writing assignments; group research project and presentation.

    ENGLISH 317 - Literature and Culture
    Schedule Listing
    001 (LEC)
    TuTh 4:00PM - 5:30PM
    002 (LEC)
    MW 1:00PM - 2:30PM
    NOTE: Data maintained by department in Wolverine Access. If no textbooks are listed below, check with the department.

    ISBN: 1590176405
    Transit, Author: Seghers, Anna., Publisher: New York Review Books 2014
    ISBN: 1451676859
    Chris Cleave boxed set : Gold, Little bee, Incendiary, Author: Cleave, Chris,, Publisher: Simon & Schuster 2012
    ISBN: 9789981829695
    Hope : and other dangerous pursuits, Author: Lalami, Laila, 1968-, Publisher: Moroccan Cultural Studies Centre 2008
    Other Textbook Editions OK.
    ISBN: 9781150971501
    Palestine : a nation occupied, Author: Sacco, Joe,, Publisher: Fantagraphics Books 1996
    ISBN: 9780241979068
    EXIT WEST., Author: HAMID, MOHSIN., Publisher: PENGUIN BOOKS 2018
    Other Textbook Editions OK.
    Syllabi are available to current LSA students. IMPORTANT: These syllabi are provided to give students a general idea about the courses, as offered by LSA departments and programs in prior academic terms. The syllabi do not necessarily reflect the assignments, sequence of course materials, and/or course expectations that the faculty and departments/programs have for these same courses in the current and/or future terms.

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