Selected contemporary and historical works by U.S. Latino/a authors. Spans U. S. Latino/a literature from the nineteenth century to the present, tracing it genealogy from a foundational triad of communities - Mexican American, Puerto Rican, and Cuban American.
This course examines selected contemporary and historical works by U.S. Latino and Latina authors, an umbrella term that refers to U.S.-based writers who share a common Latin American descent without necessarily sharing a concrete national background. Since its emergence in the 19th century from a foundational triad of communities (Mexican American, Cuban American, and Puerto Rican), Latino/a literature in the U.S. has been fuelled by a “dialectics of difference” (Ramón Saldívar) between minority and dominant cultures, including a quest for identity-formation as well as an assertion of difference within the anglophone U.S. literary tradition. We will explore how these multiple and contradictory forces in the making of Latino/a literature are mediated through textual and formal patterns. The course is organized around paradigmatic debates and issues concerning Latino/a literature, and we will ask questions such as: • In representing their minority histories of conquest and internal colonialism, how have Mexican American and Puerto Rican authors adapted and transformed Western literary genres (for example, historical novel/romance)? • In protesting against their racialization and proletarianization after 1848, how have Mexican American authors exposed the universalism of liberal individualism as a fiction, consequently pushing literary character-classification beyond the individual toward the collective? • In articulating their bilingualism and biculturalism, how have Latino/a authors created a unique blend of anglophone and hispanophone literature—Spanglish American literature? • How have new U.S. Latino/a writers emerging after the “Latino Boom” of the 1990s reconfigured established Chicano and Nuyorican literature, and what new critical approaches to U.S. Latino/a Literature do their works require? • In transposing the U.S. American story of immigration from transatlantic into hemispheric American trajectories, how have Latino/a authors adapted the bildungsroman and the Latin American genre of magical realism? • How has the literature of Latino/a exiles published by Cubans and other Latin Americans in the U.S. for more than two centuries deterritorialized fictional space by mapping a spatial dialectic between home and exile, and by addressing transnational imagined communities? • During the civil rights era of the 1960s, how have Chicano and Puerto Rican authors forged militant aesthetics in literature akin to, but distinct from, the black arts movement?
Student learning goals
To appreciate the ever-increasing diversity and heterogeneity that is U.S. Latino/a Literature today
To appreciate how U.S. Latino writers have adapted and transformed established Euro-American as well as Latin American literary genres
To appreciate the varied expressions of biculturalism and bilingualism by U.S. Latino/a writers
To understand that U.S. Latino/a literature is not an exclusively contemporary phenomenon and that Latino/a literature has a past and a literary history of its own, distinct from other American literatures
General method of instruction
mixed lecture and discussion
no previous knowledge of U.S. Latino literature is needed. this is an introductory class
Class assignments and grading
1 short papers; 1 midterm (with paper alternative); final exam
10% Participation 30% Short Paper # 1 (4 pp.) 20% Midterm Exam OR Short Paper # 2 (4 pp.) 40% Final Exam