First-Year Seminar: “Displacement and Belonging: Fiction, Roots, and Routes”
Don Quixote, a novel about a man getting lost, has been one of the world’s great explorations on the meaning of home for over four hundred years. This course will examine what it means to belong, to be rooted, and to be understood through the deep exploration of stories. Cervantes, himself a migrant, believed that we understand each other—and ourselves—best through stories and storytelling. Using his classic novel as a springboard, this course will examine rich and complicated questions of displacement, belonging, and what it means to be (or make) home. We will read a mix of classic and contemporary accounts of migration, examining fictional and journalistic accounts of people as they move into the unknown in hopes of a better life. The course centers on questions that affect campus life just as much as they affect geopolitics: How do we belong? What makes strangers strange? What can others’ stories of home tell us about our own longings and belongings.