The sea, absent of demarcations, inspires our course, Reading Without Borders. Here is our opportunity to contemplate the concept of borders and its intriguing antithesis, no-borders. As we cross the seas toward parts previously unfamiliar, we will read poetry, fiction, and drama—to reevaluate history, individual and national identities, gender and race—to hear the “ghostlier demarcations, keener sounds” (from Wallace Stevens) of the sea. We will examine these demarcations, the things that divide us—while simultaneously immersing ourselves in the plurality of America and the world.
Our goal is to position ourselves outside the familiar in order to learn about others and about ourselves. Readings from various social and cultural backgrounds will be our means to see “no borders,” in other words, the interconnectedness and plurality in our lives, whether American or ethnic or from places as yet unknown. Readings, in general, will follow the Semester at Sea voyage to complement our exploration of borders/no-borders.