2018 Summer Session I

4-week session: June 4th-June 27th

ENG 379, Mon-Thu 1:00pm-3:40pm, John Weir

Global/Transnational Literatures

Exiles, Migrants, and the Politics of Sanctuary

Anti-immigrant rhetoric inundates our contemporary public discourse. In the U.S, right-wing political leaders fuel the misguided idea that immigrants are to blame for the financial crisis and mass unemployment. Every year, thousands of migrant workers, mainly from Central America and Mexico, cross the southern border into the U.S., desperate to escape the misery, crime, and joblessness in their home countries. Across the globe, where anti-immigrant scapegoating is equally rampant, we find masses of people fleeing inter-imperialist war in Syria, Libya, and Yemen, climate refugees escaping ravaged areas of the global South, and exiles from places like historic Palestine who continue to linger in political limbo. Along the way towards “freedom,” migrants are subjected to violence by anti-immigrant militias that patrol state-designated boundaries, prejudicial treatment by border agents, and unspeakable human rights abuses. Many die in transit, while the rest find more exploitation and poverty in the urban centers of the global North, only to be hounded by agencies like ICE who often force migrants into for-profit detention centers, or confinement camps with subhuman living conditions. This situation has been intensified in the wake of Executive Order 13769, or the “Muslim Ban,” and attacks on programs like DACA, with mass arrests and extensive deportations continuing unabated.

             ​Keeping the political situation in mind, this course will investigate the images of the exile and the migrant in contemporary literature, non-fiction, and films from a global perspective. We will analyze how these scenes of detention and border enforcement have brought to light the intersecting roles of war, law, policing, capitalist crisis, and racism in the current situation, while also considering how activists, authors, and filmmakers have transformed these spaces of control and surveillance into sources of resistance and creativity, manifesting collective power to demand and re-create sanctuary spaces. Primary texts will include: Helen Maria Viramontes, Under the Feet of Jesus, Moshin Hamid’s Exit West, and Mourid Barghoti’s I Saw Ramallah; secondary texts by Edward Said, David Bacon, Mostafa Bayoumi, Christian Parenti, Valeria Luiselli, among others; films will include Ai Weiwei’s Human Flow, Philippe Lioret’s Welcome, and Alfonso Cuarón’s Children of Men.

Summer Session II

6-week session: July 7th-August 13th

ENG 324, Mon-Thu 10:00am-11:34pm, John Wang

Victorian Literature

This course will be examining some of the major prose and poetic works from one of the richest and the most significant eras in English literature.  Queen Victoria’s six decades on the British throne coincided with the most extreme and rapid transformations and modernizations that any nation in world had ever experienced.  The material, scientific, and social advancements of the period resulted in massive shifts in almost every aspect of life.  We will think about how these transformations shaped the way writers thought about their world, and we will explore how their works reflect these extraordinary times.  We will attempt to contextualize these works artistically, culturally, and historically in order to better understand how Victorian writers manifest as well as address the anxieties and concerns of their times.  We will see how authors present their ideas about the nature of identity (gender, class, and race), the cost of empire, the value of labour, and the role of religious faith in the modern world.  Writers may include Thomas Carlyle, Alfred Lord Tennyson, Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Charles Dickens, Charlotte and Emily Bronte, Matthew Arnold, John Ruskin, Christina and Dante Gabriel Rossetti, George Eliot, Thomas Hardy, Oscar Wilde, Walter Pater, and others.  There will be a midterm, a final exam, and an essay.