Course Unit Page

  • Teacher Sofia Cavalcanti

  • Credits 6

  • SSD L-LIN/10

  • Teaching Mode Traditional lectures

  • Language English

  • Campus of Forli

  • Degree Programme Second cycle degree programme (LM) in Specialized translation (cod. 9174)


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Gender equality Reduced inequalities

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

The student- knows the core features (contents, methods and instruments) necessary for the in-depth analysis of English culture and literature; s/he is able to apply this knowledge when tackling a range of semiotically challenging texts; s/he is able to acquire higher-level cultural and literary knowledge and competences independently, and to apply them to a wide range of novel texts.

Course contents

The theme of the course is "Travel Narratives: Migrations, Diasporas and Borders." Its main focus is Anglophone literature dealing with stories of displacement, cultural relocation, and identity negotiation on the move.

Migration has been a powerful stimulant to literary expressions of identity in motion and the re-definition of the self that new homelands require. Through a close reading of contemporary short stories and novels in English, the course offers critical spaces for thinking about the discordant movements of modernity and the massive migrations that have defined the XX and XXI centuries. By analyzing a series of travel narratives--which represent hybrid characters using different means of transport and coping with multiple types of border crossings--we will examine the subjective, psychological, and social dimensions of diaspora and other modern forms of geographical displacement and dislocation. Drawing on the interdisciplinary fields of postcolonial studies and migration/diaspora studies, we will evaluate the risks and gains of such deterritorializations not only in practical terms but on fissures of identity like race, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality.


A detailed syllabus with the schedule of readings will be provided in class.

The reading list includes the following novels and short stories:

- Ladies' Coupé [selected passages] (Anita Nair)

- "The View from Castle Rock" (Alice Munro)

- "The Arrangers of Marriage" and "The Thing Around Your Neck" (Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie)

- Brick Lane [selected passages] (Monica Ali)

- "Mrs. Sen's" and "The Third and Final Continent" (Jhumpa Lahiri)

- Borderland/La Frontera [selected passages] (Gloria Anzaldúa)

- "Woman Hollering Creek" and "The Cariboo Café" (Sandra Cisneros)

- The Lost Children Archive [selected passages] (Valeria Luiselli)

- "Eveline" (James Joyce)

- The Mistress of Spices [selected passages] (Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni)

- The God of Small Things (Arundhati Roy)

The following films (to be watched before class) will also be discussed:

- Brooklyn (dir. John Crowley)

- Captain Phillips (dir. Paul Greengrass)

- The Namesake (dir. Mira Nair)

- Nomadland (dir. Chloé Zhao)

Teaching methods

Attendance and participation are highly encouraged. Some initial lectures will be followed by class discussion. Students are required to read the assigned readings before class.

As concerns the teaching methods of this course unit, all students must attend the online Modules 1, 2 on Health and Safety [https://www.unibo.it/en/services-and-opportunities/health-and-assistance/health-and-safety/online-course-on-health-and-safety-in-study-and-internship-areas ].

Assessment methods

The final exam will be divided into two parts: a written and an oral part.

The written exam consists of 10 quotations taken from the texts analyzed in class + one bonus question. The student will be asked to identify each quotation (by naming the text it is taken from as well as its author) and comment on it in max. 10 lines. Each question is worth 3 points (+ 3 points for the bonus question). This part will last 2 hours and constitutes 50% of the whole mark.

A sample copy of the written exam will be supplied in class and published in the "Virtuale" platform.

The oral part consists of an oral presentation in line with the themes of the course. The student will be free to choose the topic he/she wants to tackle in his/her 15-minute presentation. A short discussion with the instructor will follow. This part constitutes 50% of the whole mark.

Due dates and further explanations will be given during the course.


Grading Scale

30-30L: The candidate possesses an in-depth knowledge of the topic, an outstanding ability to apply theoretical concepts, a high level of argumentative clarity, as well as excellent analytical skills, and a well-developed ability to synthesize and establish interdisciplinary connections.

27–29: The candidate possesses an in-depth knowledge of the topic, a sound ability to apply theoretical concepts, good analytical skills, clear argumentative clarity and an ability to synthesize.

24-26: The candidate possesses a fair knowledge of the topic, a reasonable ability to apply theoretical concepts correctly and present ideas clearly.

21-23: The candidate possesses an adequate, but not in-depth, knowledge of the topic, a partial ability to apply theoretical concepts, and acceptable presentation skills.

18-20: The candidate possesses a barely adequate and only superficial knowledge of topic, limited presentation skills, and only an inconsistent ability to apply theoretical concepts.

< 18 Fail: The candidate possesses an inadequate knowledge of the topic, makes significant errors in applying theoretical concepts, and shows weak presentation skills.

Teaching tools

Power Point presentations; videos and films; reading materials available in "Virtuale".

Office hours

See the website of Sofia Cavalcanti