There’s No Place Like Home

HON 398 – Professor Christine Hegel-Cantarella and Professor Sabrina Marques

Modes of Inquiry: Textual Analysis, Historical, Social and Cultural Analysis, Artistic Creation and Analysis

Course Description:

Housing is a form of shelter. It provides protection from the elements. Home, on the other hand, is something much more complex for humans around the world. Home is a space of kin relations and primary attachments, an affective space of memory and emotion, and a repository of material objects that do affective work. At the same time, “home” as a literal and metaphoric space can be absented, fragmented, or traumatizing, through relocation, migration, or violence. Using the tactics of art, ethnography, film, and design, this course will offer a cross-cultural and multi-disciplinary perspective on the meanings and materiality of home and homemaking. This topic is not only omnipresent - everyone has some relation to home, even if it is a lack thereof - but also timely. The Covid-19 pandemic, which made home variously a refuge or a prison, was/is a historical moment in which home also became a semi-permanent space of work and school, and raised questions for people around the world about who to make a home with and how to keep it safe. At the same time, evictions and homelessness are on the rise, as is global migration, which forces us to grapple with the economic and social forces that constrain people’s abilities to retain attachments to people, places, and things, and to find refuge in a rapidly changing world. Students in this class will engage in creative expression and auto-ethnography, in conjunction with cross-cultural and comparative analysis of films, artworks, scholarly and fictional, to consider their own and others’ affective ties and displacements that manifest through the resonant space of home. This same course will be taught simultaneously at Pace University in NYC. WCSU students and Pace students will have opportunities to interact and collaborate.


The artwork featured in the third photo below was created by the following students: Daisy Gesualdi, Ava Westervelt, Joseph Maglio, Satil Moni, Patrick Moody, Emily Clifford, Camyrn Schilling, Michael Guerrero, Bianca Pasqualone, Meghan Woolley, Brynn Alvord, Sharmone Horne, Hailie Kopp, Anna Schipf, and Jocelyn Villacreses.