From classical Greeks and Romans, who saw themselves under siege by the "barbarian hordes," to contemporary America and its war on "Islamic extremism," from "The Birth of a Nation" to "Alien Nation," Western societies have repeatedly represented some group of people as threats to civilization. This course will examine a wide range of representations of non-Western people and cultures in film, literature, scientific and legal writings, popular culture and artistic expression. What is behind this impulse to divide the world into "us" and "them"? How is it bound up with our understanding of race and racial difference? And what happens when the "barbarian hordes" talk back?
In Rome, we examine immigrants, asylum seekers, and refugees move “within” and across Italian and other European urban borders, they impact the familiar, inciting an array of responses in different contexts and forms. This course explores Europe's colonial past and the past emigrations. This historical context is crucial when discussing contemporary politics of migration control, with regards to Northern Africa and the international relations between Italy and Libya at the opposite shores of the Mediterranean. Employing cross-cultural and multi-disciplinary approaches to the subject of how identity is formed, challenged and defended in an ever more globalized world, learners investigate the pressing issues of immigration, race and ethnicity that have sparked such controversy and passion both in contemporary Italy, Europe and the U.S.
This course fulfills the Race & Diversity (GD) requirement for students under GenEd.