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ENG583: Strangers in a Strange Land

"When you return from travel, no one, except for your dog, should recognize you." -Bob Shaccochis Drawing from a range of essays and literature about travel, this course seeks to equip students wi

"When you return from travel, no one, except for your dog, should recognize you." -Bob Shaccochis Drawing from a range of essays and literature about travel, this course seeks to equip students with the tools to process and reflect upon their own personal journeys, abroad and otherwise. Through a range of assignments, we will examine closely what it means to embark upon a journey: Why do we travel? What is the difference between a traveler and a tourist? How do we shape, and how are we shaped by, a new environment? And how far does one have to go, exactly, to undergo that ever-elusive transformation? This class will provide students opportunities not only to write and reflect upon their own travels through journal-based narratives, reflective essays, analytical papers, and creative presentations, but also to tackle the deeper questions of what it means to be a global citizen, and how we learn to become at home in the world (or not). No passport required! Texts could vary from anthropological accounts to travel essays to novels and short stories from a range of voices, including Invisible Cities (Italo Calvino), Geographies (Elizabeth Bishop), A Passage to India (E.M. Forster), On the Road (Jack Kerouac), A Field Guide to Getting Lost (Rebecca Solnit), Pilgrim at Tinker Creek (Annie Dillard), excerpts from Mark Twain, Marco Polo, Jamaica Kincaid, and Pico Iyer, Motorcycle Diaries (Che Guevara), The Art of Travel (Alaine de Boton), Midnight's Children (Salman Rushdie) and Cloud Atlas (David Mitchell).