Course Instructor: Dana Shiller
As a character in a Robert Frost poem says, "Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in." This seminar will investigate the concept of home, and its antithesis, homelessness-whether due to personal reasons or political ones. What makes us feel "at home," whether in our parents' houses or in places we visit for the first time? How do our homes, or homelands, shape our identities? What is it like to be without a home, or, worse still, a country? Among the various threads of our conversation this term will be how works of fiction represent "home," the problem of homelessness in America, and what it is like to live in exile from one's homeland. We will also discuss how the global proliferation of restaurant chains and shopping malls distorts our sense of home by making one town (or country!) look like any other. Our texts will come from fiction, memoir and essays, including Colson Whitehead's Sag Harbor, Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis, about growing up in Teheran during the Iranian Revolution, and David Grossman's The Yellow Wind, about the Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza, Strip.