ENGL289Z - Culture on the Move: The Literature of Emigration

What do we carry with us when we leave home? How do we create homes for ourselves after arriving in new worlds? This course reads the literature of emigration – poems, novels, short stories, letters, essays – to examine how writing helps negotiate the move from home to abroad, and to explore the ideas, beliefs, and aspirations that emigrants transport from one nation to another. Key terms we’ll explore include citizenship, nationalism, cosmopolitanism, patriotism, and exile. We will read Epiphanie Mukasano, a Rwandan refugee now living in South Africa; Michael Ondaatje, a Sri Lankan author in residence at the University of Maryland for the Spring 2012 term; and many others, including Jamaica Kincaid, David Malouf, Claude McKay, and Margaret Atwood. Our critical vocabulary will be drawn from several short articles on the politics of emigration and citizenship, and our questions will be guided by historical and contemporary arguments about emigration, from early Victorian parliamentary debates to current arguments on United States immigration policy. Course requirements include two 4- to 5-page essays, a group presentation, midterm, and final exam.