In this writing seminar, we will interrogate the concept of returning home--to places known briefly or well, to the deeply familiar or merely imagined. Depictions of going home in the aftermath of major historical events figure in much recent literature, and through writing and class discussion, students will explore the effects of violent upheavals of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries—including, for example, the Holocaust, the Vietnam War, and American Indian dislocation—through the efforts of those affected by these events to return to sites from which they were displaced. We will also consider the relationship between identity and place, and the tensions that can develop between collective versus individual ideas of the self. The ways in which contemporary authors treat the theme of "coming home" across boundaries of time and space and the role this notion plays in the construction of contemporary ethnic, racial, and national identities will serve as our impetus for frequent exploratory writing, three formal essays, and a final research paper. Readings will include works by Eva Hoffman, Jonathan Safran Foer, Tim O’Brien, Danielle Trussoni, Sherman Alexie, James Welch, and Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts, among others, as well as theoretical texts and short films.