Global Displacement: Voix Francophones


This course explores the global migration and resettlement of Francophone refugees. Through historical, political, and literary perspectives, we will examine the current state of refugees and asylum seekers in Western host societies, with a particular focus on Central African refugees in North America.

In the first part of this course, we examine laws, processes, and practices related to refugee resettlement. What leads people to flee their country and seek refugee status, and what are the processes they must go through as they seek asylum? Our investigation of the causes of what has been termed “the global refugee crisis” will focus primarily on refugees whose home countries and countries of first asylum are located Central and Western Africa (DRC, CAR, Chad, Cameroun, Rwanda). Our texts will include UNHCR documents, documentary film and interviews, and literary narratives, with close attention to the politics of listening to and speaking for other communities.

In the second half of the course, we examine the introduction and integration of these refugees in their host countries. As we review discourse and assumptions of host societies, we study the challenges of the cultural orientation process in North America (US and Canada). Our discussions will include an exploration of what constitutes testimony or narrative (including oral vs. written), critiques of testimony as single truth narrative (including the operations of doubt and truth in cultural productions), as well as ethical considerations of creating refugee narrative.

In an effort to better understand these issues – and enhance development of linguistic and cultural competence – this course has a community-based component that engages students with the Francophone refugee community in Durham. Students in the course will participate in 20 hours of service over the course of the semester, in a variety of settings that range from ESL tutoring to home-health visits to cultural activities aimed to introducing new arrivals to the Duke and Durham community.

Classes meetings will be conducted entirely in French.

PREREQUISITE: A minimum of one course at the 300 level, or an AP Language and Culture Test score of 5, will prepare you to best succeed in this course.

Course flyer
Crosslisting Numbers


Curriculum Codes