Credit: City of Asylum by Jutta Gsoels-Lorensen is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 


Course Description

"Asylum Narratives" is conceived as a week-long module for a General Education humanities class, ideally of about 25 students or fewer to allow for open and trusting debate.

Over three units entitled "Asylum Stories, Three Beginnings," "Stories of Law," and "Detention/Narratives," it introduces basic concepts and questions relating to the study of political asylum and refugees as they are posed at the intersection of literature, art and law. The module uses Viet Thanh Nguyen's collection The Displaced: Refugee Writers on Refugee Lives as the central class text in addition to documentaries, art, media representations, and documents from history, law and psychology. It also introduces, especially relevant to our Pennsylvania location, Pittsburgh's City of Asylum, a sanctuary program for persecuted writers.

This course is part of the following program: Redesigning Modernities.

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headshot of Dr. Gsoels-Lorensen

Associate Professor of German, English and Comparative Literature
Penn State University, Altoona College

Jutta's current research interests focus on issues of forced migration, particularly political asylum, in literature, film, and law. Her work has been published in New German Critique, Arethusa, Mosaic, Germanic Review, and African American Review, among others, and she is presently working on a project tentatively entitled "States of Asylum: Refugees and the City." She is interested in collaborative pedagogies, especially course maps combining scholarly inquiry, creative writing, and out-of-classroom experiences as well as inter-institutional public humanities projects.

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