Migration and the Literary Imagination
Time: 19:45 - 21:30
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
Course Code: HLT221
Duration: 6 sessions (over 6 weeks)
What is the course about?
This online literature course will introduce students to a range of important literary texts that explore different facets of migration. It begins by contextualising this literary production within the migration of people during the latter half of the twentieth century and concludes by bringing students up to date with recent literary texts that examine contemporary issues relating to migration, such as the ongoing migrant crisis. Each week, we will discuss critical issues arising from each text alongside a cultural history of immigration in the UK and the US, thereby against the backdrop of the end of the British Empire and formal decolonisation in the twentieth and twenty-first century. While sometimes engaging with difficult subject matter, we will also be attending to the ways that migration has given rise to new formal and aesthetic modes of literary expression that draw on a range of different international cultural traditions.
This is a live online course. You will need:
- Internet connection. The classes work best with Chrome.
- A computer with microphone and camera is best (e.g. a PC/laptop/iMac/MacBook), or a tablet/iPad/smart phone/iPhone if you don't have a computer.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.
What will we cover?
Each week, we will discuss topics that emerge from our key texts. These topics typically include issues such as Empire and decolonisation, race and racism, gender, sexuality and literary aesthetics and form.
- Jean Rhys, Voyage in the Dark (1934)
- EK Braithwaite, To Sir, With Love (1957)
- Caryl Phillips, Crossing the River (1990)
- Mohsin Hamid, Exit West (2017)
Poetry: Grace Nichols, Fat Black Woman’s Poems (1984)
Short Stories: Jhumpa Lahiri, Interpreter of Maladies (1999).
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
- Have an analytical understanding of key concepts and debates in migrant writing in English during the twentieth and twenty-first century
- Have an analytical understanding of different forms of migration (labour, forced migration, refugee experiences) and how these effect literary depictions of migration
- Be able to reflect critically on how issues of race, class, gender and sexuality intersect with migration and how this is explored in fiction
- Be able to critically evaluate and analyse the texts we study on the course
- Be able to engage with migrant writing in English from a range of different perspectives, such as aesthetic, social and political viewpoints.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
You don’t need any particular skills for this course and studying literature before is not a pre-requisite. Some of the topics addressed are sensitive and so a willingness to engage with the readings and listen respectfully to the views of fellow students will be essential.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
Each class will feature a short power point presentation, followed by large and small group work and discussion. Work outside class is generally doing the readings set each week.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
You will be required to acquire a copy of each text either by buying it or obtaining it from a library. The texts we will read are:
- Jean Rhys, Voyage in the Dark (Penguin Modern Classics, 1934)
- EK Braithwaite, To Sir, With Love (Vintage, 1957)
- Grace Nichols, Fat Black Woman’s Poems (Virago, 1984)
- Caryl Phillips, Crossing the River (Vintage, 1990)
- Jhumpa Lahiri, Interpreter of Maladies (HarperCollins, 1999)
- Mohsin Hamid, Exit West (Penguin Random House, 2017).
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
Please see our other courses on our website at www.citylit.ac.uk/history, culture & writing/literature/fiction.
Peter Cherry has taught literature at undergraduate level at the University of Edinburgh and at postgraduate level at Bilkent University in Turkey, where he worked as Assistant Professor in World Literature between 2018-2021, offering courses on migration, gender and sexuality in modern fiction, literature and cinema, travel writing and the graphic novel. He holds a PhD in Comparative Literature from the University of Edinburgh and is the author of the forthcoming book Muslim Masculinities: Transcultural Identity and Migration in Britain (IB Tauris/Bloomsbury, 2021). He has also written a chapter for the volume Turkish Literature as World Literature (Bloomsbury, 2021) and has written articles on different aspects of gender, sexuality, travel and migration in literature and cinema.
Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.