English N135

Literature of American Cultures: Repression and Resistance

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Session Course Areas
1 Summer 2012 Gonzalez, Marcial
MTuTh 12-2 180 Tan

Book List

Allison, Dorothy: Bastard Out of Carolina; Jones, Gayl : Corregidora; Ozick, Cynthia: The Shawl; Ruiz, Ronald: Happy Birthday Jesus; Viramontes, Helena Maria: Under the Feet of Jesus; Wideman, John Edgar: Philadelphia Fire


In this course we will analyze representations of repression and resistance in the fiction of three cultural groups: Chicanos/Chicanas, African Americans, and European Americans.  We will examine various forms of repression--social, physical, and psychological--represented in these texts, and we will study the various ways these works resist repression.  (Please be forewarned: some of these works include graphic and disturbing representations of violence.)  Several questions inform the course theme:  What are the causes of repression?  What solutions, if any, do these works offer in response to the forms of repression they represent?  What is the relation, if any, between the negative effects of repression and the formation of a positive conception of cultural identity?  From a literary perspective:  What are the formal aspects of a literature of repression and resistance?  The comparative approach in this course will allow us to analyze the similarities and differences in the literatures of these three cultural groups. It will also provide us with a critical appreciation of the social significance and aesthetic quality of the literature. 

Note that this class satisfies UC Berkeley’s American Cultures requirement.

This course will be taught in Session A, from May 21 to June 28.




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