COMP 213(F) Migrants at the Borders: Contemporary Arabic and Latin American Literature and Film (Same as International Studies 213)*
Why do the peoples and cultures of Latin America and the Middle East often elicit such passionate responses in the United States and Europe? Some feel threatened, while others are intrigued, but responses to these world regions are seldom neutral. Often seen as exotic and erotic, or as a danger to the way of life of Americans and Europeans, Islam, Arabs and Latin Americans are at the forefront of socio-political debates in the United States and Europe. This is largely due to migration and world politics. After characterizing Islam as the greatest contemporary threat to "Western" civilization in his infamous essay titled "The Clash of Civilizations," Samuel Huntington now sees Latinos as the greatest threat to American civilization. By examining literature and film from the Middle East and Latin America, and from these immigrant communities in the United States and Europe, we will go beyond superficial images and inflammatory rhetoric to explore the cultures behind the passions. Among other things, the texts of this course examine the ties between the Arab world and Latin America, and between these two regions and their neighbors to the north. At the heart of this course are the ideas of borders and margins. What does it mean to cross borders or to live on the margins of society? The borders we will discuss will be geographic borders, but also cultural borders that will permit the exploration of the territories between life and death, civilization and barbarism, wealth and poverty, war and peace and other dichotomies that some employ to classify the world but that rarely allow for human sensibilities and the subtle experiences of being. Our texts include works by writers such as Gloria Anzaldua, Juan Rulfo, Clarice Lispector, Milton Hatoum, Mohamad Choukri, Hoda Barakat, Naguib Mahfouz and Tayyib Saleh that treat the human condition at the borders/margins of society. Films include El Norte, The Mission, Pixote, Midaq Alley, City of God, Battle of Algiers, A Door to the Sky, Y tu mama tambien, Summer in La Goulette, Hate and Ali Zaoua. There will also be a course reader. All readings are in English translation and films have English subtitles. Format: lecture/discussion. Requirements: active class participation, oral presentations, two 4- to 6-page papers, and a final paper or exam. No prerequisites. No enrollment limit (expected: 20).