Open to Gallatin transfer students only. Permission required. To register, please contact Gallatin’s Transfer Student Class Adviser, Joshua Shirkey (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Historian Eric Hobsbawm famously refers to the twentieth century as “the age of extremes,” an era of violence marked especially by “the destruction of the past.” In response to this perceived break with history, contemporary narratives seek to recover lost pasts, employing tropes of homecoming and return in order to bridge temporal as well as geographical gaps. Stories of “coming home” document the urgency with which our culture attempts to remember the past in the aftermath of trauma and invests specific places, or “sites of memory,” with the power of recall. This course investigates the linkages between identity and place as they are imagined in the aftermath of historical traumas, in film, literature, and theory as well as practices including reparations and genealogy. The ways in which contemporary narratives treat the theme of coming home across boundaries of time and space and the role this idea plays in the construction of ethnic, racial, and national identities will serve as the impetus for frequent exploratory writing, formal essays, and a research paper. Texts will include readings in trauma theory and memory studies as well as selections from Louise Erdrich, Tim O’Brien, Toni Morrison, Jonathan Safran Foer, and James Young, among others.