This is a summer course offered in the Comparative History of Ideas Department at the University of Washington. Click here to see the syllabus.

Course description and learning objectives:

Our sense of being at home constitutes a fundamental aspect of who we are and how we relate to others, and yet this concept tends to remain implicit and unexamined in our day-to-day lives. It is often not until we leave our comfort zones that we realize how contingent and limited our feelings of belonging can be. At the same time, the notion of home can cut across conceptual boundaries to include a vast number of physical, social and imaginative spaces. This course will examine the constructed nature of the concept of “home,” exploring the boundaries of what constitutes our own homes and communities, and encouraging us to think more deeply about what defines the communities we choose to study.

In addition to seminar readings, short papers and discussions, we will learn to use the techniques of documentary video production, and will complete short video projects based around concepts discussed in the course.

Our course will be a hybrid of the traditional reading-based seminar and a collaborative media workshop. It is designed to help students develop their critical and analytic abilities simultaneously through various modes of knowledge production, including reading, discussion, writing, applied media practice, qualitative research methods, and the use of visual archives.

Through our discussions of the readings, participants in the class will become acquainted with some of the growing literature concerning the ethnography of place, identity and memory studies, and the politics of representation. In weekly workshops, students will also have the opportunity to learn and/or improve upon their existing technical media skills, with a focus on the fundamentals of documentary video production for the web.