The Refugee “Crisis” in Fiction, Film and Photography

141 :  French Studies in an International Context
Fall 2023
Class No: 26159
2066 VLSB
Debarati Sanyal
9:30 AM - 10:59 AM

This course seeks to accompany the journey of refugees attempting to cross borders into Europe. How are dominant views of the refugee “crisis” currently shaped by the media? How does activist or experimental art change these visions? We will use contemporary film, fiction, photography, VR platforms and the press, to explore the experiences and stories of those fleeing poverty, violence and climate change. How are the exiled trapped by land and sea borders? How do they confront, challenge, and cross these borders? How do they offer new ways of thinking about becoming and belonging? We will consider border technology, surveillance, encampment and detention, the asylum process, resettlement and sanctuary. Our viewing and readings will also migrate from the French-speaking world to places such as the US-Mexico border and Ukraine.

Narrative fiction by Marie NDiaye, Joyce Carol Oates, Ali Smith, Valeria Luiselli, Shumona Sinha, Natacha Appanah.

Art installations (photography, VR platforms) by Zach Blas, Alejandro Iñárittu, Darryl Emerson, Hito Steyerl, Richard Mosse and John Akomfrah.

Films include Welcome by Philippe Lioret,  The Messengers by Hélène Crouzillat and LaetitiaTura, Those Who Jump by Abou Bakar Sidibé, Estephan Wagner and Moritz Siebert, Dheepan, by Jacques Audiard, His House by Remi Weekes