English 135AC

Literature of American Cultures: Repression and Resistance

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
1 Fall 2012 Gonzalez, Marcial
TTh 12:30-2 2060 Valley LSB

Book List

Allison, Dorothy: Bastard Out of Carolina; Baldwin, James: Go Tell It On The Mountain; Castillo, Ana: Sapogonia; Giardina, Denise: Storming Heaven; Jones, Gayl: Corregidora; Ozick, Cynthia: The Shawl; Rechy, John: City of Night; Ruiz, Ronald: Happy Birthday Jesus; Wideman, John: Philadelphia Fire


In this course we will analyze representations of repression and resistance in nine novels, three each from the following three cultural groups: Chicanos/Chicanas, African Americans, and Euro-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.  In addition to the novels on the required reading list, we may also read short stories by Helena María Viramontes, James Baldwin, and Raymond Carver.  Assignments will include two papers and a mid-term. 

English 135AC satisfies UC Berkeley’s American Cultures requirement.

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