About this course

What happens when different cultures come into contact with one another, when customary social, personal and physical boundaries are traversed? Travel abroad entails not only crossing national borders, but operating in semi-permanent ‘contact zones’ between cultures. It can lead to a richly productive exchange, but also foster tension, even conflict. Personal identities are frequently redefined, or recreated; either in reaction to a culturally different ‘Other’, or as part of a conscious reconstructing of who we are and where we are from.

Using a rich and highly stimulating range of texts from different disciplines and genres – including cultural and social theory, narrative fiction, travel writing and anthropology – this course aims to develop a complex understanding of such ‘contact zones’ and how they contribute to the construction of our identities. Students will be encouraged both to engage actively with the new culture in which they find themselves, and – using the narrative models and theoretical concepts encountered in class – to reflect critically on their own experience of living and studying abroad. As part of the final assessment, participants will be asked to produce a substantial piece of travel writing of their own.


Check with your home institution for specific information on fulfillment of major / course requirements.