The United States through Foreign Eyes

What does the United States of America signify to the rest of the world? How does it appear to recent immigrants or to travelers passing through? In this seminar, we will examine works that engage with the U.S. from the “outside,” in either the metaphorical or literal sense of the word. Turning our attention to works written by foreign-born authors, and to those that represent the experience of new immigrants, we will explore the image of the United States through the eyes of those who see it for the first time. In what ways does the U.S. appear differently—or similarly—to these authors and characters than to citizens or longtime residents? How do these authors or characters synthesize their respective cultural heritages with their experiences in the U.S.? How do they “explain” the US to audiences from their nations of origin? These questions will guide our analysis of the transnational connections these figures forge inside the United States as well as the new perspectives on the country that their work can offer us.