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Medieval Tales of Exile and Migration - UniBE

Faculté de gestion: Faculté des lettres

Responsable(s): Victoria Beguelin, Nicolas Bock, Estelle Doudet
Intervenant(s): -

Période de validité: 2020 -> 2020

Pas d'horaire défini.


Semestre d'automne
2 heures par semaine
28 heures par semestre

Langue(s) d'enseignement: français
Public: Oui
Crédits: 0


By the end of this course, it is expected that students will:
- have got to know various genres of early and late medieval literature (elegy, chronicle, romance);
- have explored medieval conceptions of home, belonging, and foreignness;
- have become familiar with tales of exile and migration from the present day;
- have engaged with current scholarly approaches to exile literature, postcolonial studies, and critical race theory.


Cultures are shaped as much by the people they exile and exclude as they are by the people they include. The literature that engages with the movement of people away from, towards, and between different cultures has much to tell us about how home, belonging, and alienation have been understood at various points in global history. In these texts, the reasons that lie behind exile and migration may be personal, or can relate to political, religious, economic, social, or climactic pressures of one kind or another. At the heart of many of these texts is deeply felt emotion-loss, longing, hatred, fear, revulsion, love, hope, despair. By attending closely to these narratives, we gain a better understanding of how different cultures have begun or ceased to call a given location 'home'.
Although this course will concentrate predominantly on narratives of exile and migration composed in either Old or Middle English, its themes will bring us into close engagement with issues that are as urgent now as they were centuries ago, and which have always been (and continue to be) globally relevant. Consequently, our secondary and supplementary reading will also range beyond the British Isles, as well as the Middle Ages, incorporating non-western narratives, modern adaptations of medieval texts, and contemporary accounts of exile and migration. We will investigate how different genres inflect the problem of displacement, discuss whether medieval exile is gendered, and interrogate the nexus of crusading and dispossession with the help of postcolonial studies, critical race theory, and the history of emotions. In order to relate tales of exile and migration from the deep past to our present community, we will also consider examples of exile and refugee literature of today.
Please note that this is a reading- and writing-intensive course. You will be asked to respond to your weekly readings and to our classroom discussions with short composition tasks that will allow you to practice writing as a craft and hone your skills in preparation for your term paper.
After registering for the course on KSL, please choose your favourite exile from literature or film and bring a description or depiction of him/her to the first session.


Contribution to discussions, a series of writing tasks, plus one short mid-term essay (1500 words) or a presentation of an argument in a form to be discussed and confirmed with the course leaders.

Séminaire en distanciel.

Informations supplémentaires


Unicentre - CH-1015 Lausanne - Suisse
Tél. +41 21 692 11 11
Canton de Vaud
Swiss University