Telling Tales of Transnationalism
Have you ever met someone who seems so “ordinary” but who actually lives an extraordinary life? A neighbor perhaps, who lives in two or more societies and circulates frequently between home in the United States and home abroad? Or, a fellow student who grew up in multiple countries, whose parents live on a different continent? Maybe you’ve met someone working in a local business, who came to your town straight from a refugee camp in a distant land. Scholars refer to these folks as transnational migrants, and today we are seeing more and more such people in the United States and worldwide. This course is designed to explore firsthand the telling tales of individual transnational migrants, including refugees, migrant workers, skilled laborers, and others who navigate multiple nationalities and social worlds. Such tales offer windows into the paradoxes of our complex and unequal world, where millions perish for lack of basic human needs—water, food, shelter—while others devote their days to accumulating millions or billions of dollars. Through a variety of literary and filmic genres, such as ethnography, historical fiction, life history and documentary, students will explore the tangible connections, competing loyalties, and fluid identities maintained by such globally dispersed peoples.
Course taught by
Joyce V. Millen