English R1B

Reading & Composition: (note new topic): Documents and Literature of the Undocumented

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
3 Spring 2014 Huerta, Javier
MWF 10-11 225 Wheeler

Book List

Graff, Gerald, and Birkenstein, Cathy: They Say/I Say: The Moves that Matter in Academic Writing ; Grande, Renya: Across a Hundred Mountains; Lainez, Rene Colato: My Shoes and I; Perez, Ramon: Diary of an Undocumented Immigrant; Plascencia, Salvador: The People of Paper; Rodriguez, Jose Antonio: The Shallow End of Sleep

Other Readings and Media

All additional readings—some “undocumented poems” and relevant critical essays—will be on our bCourses site or provided as handouts in class.


(note new course description):  In this class, we will study the emerging field of Undocumented Literature. Many documents—newspaper articles, academic studies, and government laws—have attempted to document the population of undocumented immigrants, but we will primarily focus on the literary and artistic efforts by former and current undocumented immigrants to represent their own experiences. These immigrant writers and artists come from diverse national backgrounds but share the common experience of being identified by their lack of legal documents. This class covers several genres—experimental one-year performances, novels, poetry, a nonfiction diary, a picture book, and personal essays—in order to explore how an undocumented perspective can speak to, from, and through the undocumented experience to assure that immigrants are properly imagined. We will also examine how these works emphasize and critique the significance of documents—birth certificates, driver's licenses, school identification cards, passports, death certificates, etc.—in our societies.

This course is aimed at developing reading, writing, and research skills that are applicable beyond the specific field of literature. The primary focus will be on how to find, evaluate, and make effective use of research tools and resources in the context of analytic writing. Writing assignments will include three progressively longer papers (2-3 pages, 5-6 pages, 10-12 pages), combining analysis of primary texts with research from secondary sources. Strategies for revision will form another major focus of the course, and the second and third papers will include substantial work (and feedback) at the prewriting and draft stages of composition.   

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