English - Free topic C: The Figure of the Stranger and the Idea of Home in Literature

Course content

This module consists of two intertwined strands. We will explore the figure of the stranger and the idea of home in both theoretical and literary texts. What is a stranger? How does society deal with those figures labelled strangers? Is the stranger ‘the other’, just passing through, or here to stay? How does the presence of the stranger affect home and the notion of being at home? How can experiences of being considered ‘the stranger’ be transcended by engaging in conversation across difference and activating our human identity? We cannot think about strangers without considering the idea of home. Home is usually associated with a specific location, a grounded dwelling place that provides comfort, safety, and familiarity vis-a-vis an outside that is potentially far less stable. Within the contexts of global mobility and migration, however, the concept of home is unhinged from such a readymade meaning. What does home mean to those who travel, migrate or are internally displaced within their nations? What is at stake when home is under siege, located ‘elsewhere’ or in multiple locations? If home is a plural term, and not grounded in a specific place, what is it then? To answer such questions, a variety of ‘stranger’ and ‘home’ theory’ will be read in tandem with a selection of generically different literary texts – poetry, short stories, novels and films – that span the colonial and postcolonial eras to the current global age.

Seminar discussions

Readings may include Joseph Conrad, ‘Amy Foster’ (1901), Yvonne Uwour, ‘Weight of Whispers’ (2018), ‘Caryl Phillips, In the Falling Snow (2009), Hisham Matar, My Friends (2024), David Malouf, An Imaginary Life (1978) and Remembering Babylon (1993), Amitav Ghosh, The Shadow Lines (1988), Tayie Selasi, Ghana Must Go (2013), Kamila Shamsie, Home Fire (2017)

Final reading list available late autumn 24.

This course only leads to exams Free Topic 1, Free Topic 2 and Free Topic 3.

Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Feedback by final exam (In addition to the grade)
Type of assessment
Portfolio, A joint portfolio uploaded in digital exam: Deadline June 6th 2025
Type of assessment details
Portfolio exam: Final combined essay of 21-25 pages to be submitted by portfolio deadline after course is finished.
Exam registration requirements

This course only leads to exams Free Topic 1, Free Topic 2 and Free Topic 3.

Criteria for exam assessment

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 56
  • Preparation
  • 353,5
  • English
  • 409,5


Course number
Programme level
Full Degree Master
Full Degree Master choice

1 semester

See schedule
Study board of English, Germanic and Romance Studies
Contracting department
  • Department of English, Germanic and Romance Studies
Contracting faculty
  • Faculty of Humanities
Course Coordinators
  • Eva Rask Knudsen   (5-6c79687a72476f7c7435727c356b72)
  • Ulla Rahbek   (4-7b727267466e7b7334717b346a71)
Saved on the 24-04-2024

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