Representations of Migration: Homes, Hopes and Journeys

Movement has been a consistent and essential feature of the human condition, but is often represented in the media as extraordinary and for “others”. This prevents us engaging with the poetics and politics of movement. We will study migration and displacement in literature, cinema and theory. We will discuss challenges, causes and representations of many kinds of movement, including voluntary and forced migrations, vacations, and journeys “home”. Getting to grips with the concepts of exile, displacement and migration, we will reflect on readings, case studies and our own experiences.

A $50 discount will be applied automatically for adults 55+.

This course is available at the following time(s) and location(s):

Campus Session(s) Instructor(s) Cost Seats available  
Online - Hande Gurses $170.00 1 Register
Online - Hande Gurses $170.00 15 Register

Schedule clarification: This is a four-week online course. It runs from Monday, March 8 to Friday, April 2. Each week, all week, you can study that week’s material, post and respond to messages, and engage in course activities. Students enrolled in Section 1 will participate in live videoconferencing sessions each Thursday from 10–11:30 a.m. PT; students enrolled in Section 2 will participate in live videoconferencing sessions each Wednesday from 1–2:30 p.m. PT.

Learning objectives

By the end of the course, you should be able to do the following:

  • Identify critical terminology relating to literary genres, migration, and cultural critical theory
  • Practice critical, creative, and analytical thinking through close reading of examples from world literature and cinema
  • Develop an understanding of the relevance and necessity of literature in addressing some of the most crucial contemporary issues
  • Create and apply skills for developing and defending an argument

Learning methods

Your online learning will include the following methods:

  • Recorded lectures and podcasts
  • Academic and non-academic articles
  • Participation in written discussions with other students
  • Participation in videoconference seminars

For Liberal Arts for 55+ Certificate students: you will write a reflective essay.


Week 1: Guests & Hosts

The Guest, Albert Camus (1957)

The Visitor, Thomas McCarthy (2007)

Who is a visitor? Who is a guest? French author and philosopher Albert Camus’ short story set in a colonial background subtly unpacks these two categories. Thomas McCharthy’s 2007 film explores the unusual outcomes of an unusual encounter between a host and his guests.

Week 2: Journeys Across Borders and Languages

Interpreter of Maladies, Jhumpa Lahiri (2000)

Le Grand Voyage, Ismaël Ferroukhi (2004)

This week’s film and short story explore how moving between cultures, languages and borders either as pilgrims or tourists may have similar moments of enlightenment. Through these two works we will discuss in what ways the personal and the political impact one another.

Week 3: Returns

Excerpts from Every Day Is for the Thief, Teju Cole (2007)

Excerpts from The Return: Fathers, Sons, and the Land in Between, Hisham Matar  (2016)

Two narratives of return to a homeland long lost yet revived and re-loved through memories and new encounters. What does it mean to return home? Is it ever possible to return when home, as one knows it, has long been lost?

Week 4: Belonging in the Classroom

The Class, Laurent Cantet (2007)

Monsieur Lazhar, Philippe Falardeau (2011)

The two films that we study for this week focus on the education system and the classroom as a microcosm of the broader political circumstances. What are the power dynamics in the classroom? How does formal education operate on the society? Can the classroom be a place of reconciliation and healing?

Books, materials and resources

You will access reading material using SFU's online course management system, Canvas.

Technical requirements

This course is delivered using SFU's online learning system, Canvas. You can check if your browser is compatible with Canvas here.  

To get the most out of this online course, you should be comfortable doing the following:

  • Using everyday software such as browsers, email and social media
  • Navigating a website by clicking on links and finding pages in a menu
  • Downloading and opening PDF documents
  • Posting, replying and uploading images to a discussion board
  • Participating in videoconferencing sessions

You will be participating in videoconferencing using Zoom Meetings. For this, your computer needs to have a camera, microphone and speakers or headphones. Your computer software should be up to date with the latest available operating system and browser versions.

Accessing your course

  • A few days before the course starts, we will email you more information about the course and how you'll access it. You will also receive an email inviting you to access the Canvas learning platform (click on the link in the invitation to join the course). Once you’ve accessed Canvas, you can begin exploring the platform on your own. The full course will be accessible on its start date.
  • We’ll also host a virtual drop-in time on Zoom Meetings a few days before the course starts. This will give you a chance to check that you can access Zoom Meetings, and that your computer’s camera and microphone and speakers are working properly.

If you're 55+, you may take this course as part of

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