Some of the most important global debates and problems are everyday subjective experiences for many people. Literature can provide a complementary angle to the understanding of complex issues such as injustice, poverty, inequality, prejudice, racism, etc. This is because fiction helps to engage with the daily struggles of groups and individuals.
In this course we will explore different literary texts in order to discuss topics such as, health including mental health, migration and the refugee crisis, discrimination, environment and climate change.
Since we are living in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic, a global problem that has affected different places and communities in different ways and has magnified global poverty and inequality, we will take this issue as a point of departure in order to examine how writers from different parts of the world have imagined, interpreted and questioned important concepts and discourses related to human rights. Some of the questions that we will examined are what is “normal”?, to whom? and where?, what is literature?, how are literary works distinctive to grapple with social issues? how do literary works produce emotion in readers that might help to promote social changes?, in what ways do literary works depict exploitative or oppressive social and economic formations?
The course will function as a workshop where students will be encourage to bring their own ideas, concepts and readings about this topics from other courses they are taking at CEU. The idea is to enhance understanding of both the primary source texts and the topics of discussion. For this purpose, we will do a close readings of primary texts and will incorporate theoretical concepts from other disciplines such as literary criticism, philosophy, psychology and sociology.