Syllabus for a Historical Survey
This survey offers an overview of the history of Latino/a literature, introducing the major trends and placing them into an historical framework stretching from the nineteenth century to today. Emphasis will be on similarities and differences in the experiences in the United States among different Latino/a groups. Topics to be discussed include the construction of identity in terms of race, gender, sexuality, and class; bilingualism and code-switching; the experiences of the exile, the immigrant, the refugee and the colonial subject; the marketing of the Latino/a identity; and the relationship of the artist to his or her community.
José Martí. “Coney Island.” (1881)
María Amparo Ruíz de Burton. From The Squatter and the Don. (1885)
Jesús Colón. Excerpts from A Puerto Rican in New York and Other Sketches. (1961)
Piri Thomas. Down These Mean Streets. (1967)
Oscar Zeta Acosta. Revolt of the Cockroach People. (1973)
Selections of Nuyorican Poets. (1960s-1970s)
Sandra Cisneros. The House on Mango Street. (1984)
Gloria Anzaldúa. Borderlands/La Frontera. (1987)
Cristina Garcia. Dreaming in Cuban (1992)
Ana Menéndez. Loving Che. (2003)
Junot Diaz. Drown. (1996)
Yxta Maya Murray. Locas. (1998)
Tanya Maria Barrientos. Family Resemblance. (2003)
Ernesto Quiñonez. Bodega Dreams. (2000)
Ilan Stavans. The Hispanic Condition. (1996)
Juan Flores. From Bomba to Hip-Hop. (2000)
Lisa Sánchez González. Boricua Literature. (2001)
Gustavo Pérez Firmat. Life on the Hyphen. (1994)
Román de la Campa. Cuba on my Mind. (2000)
Raphael Dalleo and Elena Machado Sáez. The Latino/a Canon and the Emergence of Post-Sixties Literature. (2007)
Films to be viewed in class:
The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez. (1982) Directed by Robert M. Young.
Piñero. (2001) Directed by León Ichaso.
El Súper. (1979) Directed by León Ichaso.
Washington Heights (2002) Directed by Alfredo de Villa.
Week 1 Introduction to the course
Ilan Stavans. Prologue to The Hispanic Condition.
Juan Flores. “Life Off the Hyphen.” (From From Bomba to Hip-Hop.)
The Historical Precursors
José Martí. “Coney Island.”
María Amparo Ruíz de Burton. From The Squatter and the Don.
Jesús Colón. First four sketches of A Puerto Rican in New York.
Viewing of the film The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez.
Brown Power: The Nuyorican and Chicano Canon
Piri Thomas. Down These Mean Streets.
Lisa Sánchez González, “The Boricua Novel: Civil Rights and ‘New School’ Nuyorican Narratives.” (From Boricua Literature.)
Oscar Zeta Acosta. Revolt of the Cockroach People.
Distribution of topics for essay #1
Sandra Cisneros. The House on Mango Street.
Gloria Anzaldúa. From Borderlands/La Frontera.
Selections of Nuyorican Poets
Dalleo and Machado Sáez. “Periodizing Latino/a Literature Through Pedro Pietri’s Nuyorican Cityscapes.” (Chapter 1 of The Latino/a Canon.)
Essay #1 due in class
Viewing of the film Piñero.
Revolution and Exile: The Cuban Community in the United States
Gustavo Pérez Firmat. “The Desi Chain.” (From Life on the Hyphen.)
Román de la Campa. “A Tale of Two Cubas: Havana and Miami.” (From Cuba on My Mind.)
Viewing of the film El Súper.
Distribution of topics for essay #2
Cristina Garcia. Dreaming in Cuban.
Dalleo and Machado Sáez. “Latino/a Identity and Consumer Citizenship in Cristina Garcia’s Dreaming in Cuban (Chapter 4 of The Latino/a Canon.)
Ana Menéndez. Loving Che.
Dalleo and Machado Sáez. Conclusion to The Latino/a Canon.
New Latino/a Identities
Essay #2 due in class.
Viewing of the film Washington Heights.
Junot Diaz. Drown.
Dalleo and Machado Sáez. “Lowercase Latino/a Realism in the Works of Junot Díaz and Angie Cruz.” (Chapter 3 of The Latino/a Canon.)
Yxta Maya Murray. Locas.
Proposal for final essay due in class
Tanya Maria Barrientos. Family Resemblance.
Ernesto Quiñonez. Bodega Dreams.
Dalleo and Machado Sáez. “Mercado Dreams: The End(s) of Sixties Nostalgia in Contemporary Ghetto Fiction.” (Chapter 2 of The Latino/a Canon.)
Final essay due one week after the final day of class.
Students will post eight response papers (1-2 pages each) to the course web site over the semester. Responses should be posted by Saturday at 5 PM, engaging some aspect of the reading for the following Monday. At least four of these responses should be posted by week eight of the course. The responses should connect to the themes of the class, but can deal with any aspect of the readings and discussions the student wishes to pursue in greater depth. You should feel free to use this as a forum to respond to your classmates’ posts, or to the discussions in class.
The first two major assignments will be short essays (3-4 pages) in response to specific questions. The goal of these assignments will be to encourage you to recognize and engage in some of the critical conversations surrounding Latino/a literature.
The final essay (6-8 pages) will be a thesis-driven argument in which you decide on your own topic and pursue it through at least two of the course readings. The final essay must incorporate at least one text from the final unit of the course, and at least one text from one of the other units. It is up to you to decide what themes and questions from the course you would like to explore in more detail in this assignment.
During Week 13, you will submit a one-page proposal describing what your argument will be. This proposal should include (1) the question that your essay will answer; (2) your thesis statement, which presumably will answer that question; (3) the two readings that you will be using to make your argument; (4) at least one passage from each reading that you have identified as important to your argument.
Grading will be determined by:
Attendance, Participation, Homeworks, and In-class Assignments
Final Essay (Including proposal)