||MW 9:30-11||305 Wheeler||
This course will examine representations of working-class characters and their encounters with the law in several Chicana and Chicano novels. Some of these novels were written by lawyers. Others are narrated from the perspective of a lawyer. All of them are about interpreting, challenging or breaking the law in one way or another. In this course, we will be concerned with the following questions: What is significant about the centrality of the law in these novels? What are the social and formal implications of novels narrated by a lawyer? What distinguishes the narratives of characters who are disciplined by the law from those who take defiant stances against the legal system? What do the representations of legal struggles reveal about history, class power and racialization? Do these novels represent realistic conditions, or do they reinforce stereotypes about Chicanos and the law? We will support our reading of the novels in this course with a fair amount of secondary reading. Assignments may include two papers, an exam, and an in-class presentation. A percentage of your grade will be based on participation.