Writing About Literature: Migration Fictions

Section 03
William Kerwin
Course Description

Large movements of people have been remaking the world for as long as we can remember.  Slaves, exiles, immigrants, and refugees have moved their homes, and sometimes told their stories, for millennia.  In this course we will consider drama, fiction, and nonfiction about the experience of movement across borders, some involving coming to America, and others taking place in other parts of the world.  So you will be learning about both history and literature.  We will probably read Signs Preceding the End of the World, by Yuri Herrera; The Trojan Women, by Euripides; The Interesting Narrative of Olaudah Equiano, by Equiano; Brooklyn, by Colm Toibin; My Antoniá, by Willa Cather; America is in the Heart, by Carlos Bulosan; Exit West, by Mohsin Hamid; and excerpts from The Penguin Book of Migration Literature.

You will write a short paper for six of the shared texts, experimenting with different critical perspectives.  As a final project you will do more individual research, looking into a different migration—no one course can come near discussing them all!—and writing about that migration’s representation in literature. 

In addition to increasing your comfort with and pleasure in writing about literature, the goals of this course include a richer understanding of some of the patterns of migration into or within this country, in the context of similar patterns in other places and times.  These are truly amazing stories. 

English Majors Only. Contact English advisor Mary Moore for permission.