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?