Home and Other Figments: Immigration, Exile, and Uprootedness


The unique experience of uprootedness provides an opportunity to ask questions about home, identity, and the transmission of the past. In this course, we will look to several populations around the world that have been displaced as we survey the theoretical and narrative literature about exile and immigration. How does one reconfigure his or her identity after forced or voluntary migration? What are the effects of displacement on the children of the displaced? How is cultural heritage preserved in transit? As we ask these questions, we will reflect upon what psychological methods are used to understand such complexities. We will inquire into the relationships between epistemology and method, between language and experience, and between researchers and participants. Course readings will be drawn from classic and contemporary research on various diasporas, reflecting a critical eye towards how research may conceptualize, frame, and understand the experiences of exile, immigration, and uprootedness. By the end of the course, students will have a broad understanding of numerous displaced populations, of the psychological processes at work, and of the research that has shaped the discipline's understanding of these phenomena.