[This is my attempt at creating a Latino/a studies (well, so far mostly literature) course. Do let me know what you think. If you have any ideas for films that could be included, please say! Thanks!]
While Chicano/as and Latino/as have been integral to U.S. history and culture, why have they are frequently and consistently been depicted as either outsiders or foreign and how is Chicana/o and Latina/o identity negotiated? In this course we will examine Latino/a and Chicano/a cultural production and its relationship to both larger U.S. culture and other U.S. racial and ethnic groups. We will also question the development and / or existence of Latinidad — the relationship between and common culture among Latino/as in U.S. culture and how it manifests itself through cultural expressions such as literature, music, films and social media. Our readings focus on writers from various Latino/a groups.
Through readings, screenings and other multimedia sources, our goal is to use recent literary and cultural theory to understand the paradox inherent in U.S. Chicana/o and Latina/o culture. Our topics will include: migration, language, the body, gender roles, sexual orientation and identity politics in the works of authors and artists. The requirements for this class include the creation of a public blog as a course project, adding to the discussion of Latina/o literature as part of the recent project AztlanReads.com.
- Michelle Habell-Pallan and Mary Romero Latino/a Popular Culture (ed.)
- Julia Alvarez, In the Name of Salomé
- Rudolfo Anaya, Bless Me, Ultima
- Gloria Anzaldúa, Borderlands/La Frontera
- Black Artemis, Picture Me Rollin’
- Angie Cruz, Soledad
- Junot Díaz, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
- Cristina Garcia, Dreaming in Cuban
- Ana Menéndez, Loving Che
- Ernesto Quiñonez, Bodega Dreams
- Piri Thomas, Down These Mean Streets
- Esmeralda Santiago, When I was Puerto Rican
- Helena Maria Viramontes, Their Dogs Came With Them
Schedule of Readings
Week 1 Defining Chicano/a and Latino/a
“Historical Contexts of Latino/a Presence in United States” Juan González “The Latino Imaginary: Dimensions of community and identity” Juan Flores
Week 2 Chicano Landscapes
Rudolfo Anaya, Bless Me, Ultima
Héctor Calderón,”Rudolfo Anaya’s Bless Me, Ultima: A Chicano Romance of the Southwest.”… Read the rest
While I was at the MALCS Summer Institute I confided in another attendee that I was nervous about the process of creating course syllabi as I’d never done it before. She, an associate professor of Spanish and all around lovely person, enthused that creating a syllabus was fun, and then told me she sometimes writes them to amuse herself.
With her words in mind, I tried to embrace this as an opportunity rather than something to fear. Sure enough, as I sat through the next talk, thinking about Chicana literature (I knew whatever course I came up with would be one focusing on Chicana/o literature), I came up with the idea of the “Chicana/o Gothic” — a course that would explore canonical and recent Chicana/o text through the dark lens of the gothic.
This is what I’ve come up with so far. I’d love to hear what you think — criticism is helpful. This version of the course is being imagined as one offered for a 10 week quarter. I’ve linked the texts I’ve reviewed to the reviews I’ve blogged.
Bless Me Ultima – Rudolfo Anaya
Calligraphy of the Witch – Alicia Gaspar de Alba
Brides and Sinners in El Chuco – Christine Granados
The Cambridge Companion to Gothic Fiction – Jerrold E. Hogle
The Rain God – Arturo Islas
The Hungry Woman – Cherríe L. Moraga
What You See in the Dark – Manuel Munoz
Demon in the Mirror by by S. Joaquin Rivera
The Hummingbird’s Daughter – Luis Alberto Urea
Gods Go Begging – Alfredo Véa
Is there a Chicana/o Gothic?
… Read the rest
[This is the exact text of my talk. You can download a pdf version of all the slides: NACCS though I haven’t been able to reach Maria Teresa Fernandez to get her permission to repost them to the internet. She did give me permission to use them in my research when I spoke to her at USC in 2010. If anyone has a current email address for her, please send it to me at annemarie (dot) perez (at) me (dot) com ]
“for those who dream of roses / swallow thorns”: Aztlán as Cosmopolitical Space
I’ve included in this talk a photographs by Mexican artist Maria Teresa Fernandez. She’s documented the building of the Wall between the US and Mexico and the increasing militarization of the border. These first images are about the demise of Friendship Park, the point where the US and Mexico meet the Pacific ocean. Here’s the park as it was, a space for meeting friends and family on the other side.
Here it is as the barricade was erected in 2009, creating a yards wide distance between US residents and the border fence, dividing people.
New rules are in place forbidding contact that was, until recently, relatively casual and free.
Modern usage of the term Aztlán dates from the 1960s-1970s civil rights movements. . The poet Alturista gave Aztlán’s mythology in his poem introducing the journal Aztlan… Read the rest