English 203

Graduate Readings: Readings in Chicano/Latino Narrative

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
2 Spring 2015 Padilla, Genaro M.
F 12-3 305 Wheeler


In this graduate reading course we will survey Chican@/Latino narrative, art and some drama/film from the 1960s through more recent cultural and aesthetic formations.

The seminar will open with a survey of a particularly fertile period during which the civil rights movement fomented a cultural florescence within the Chicano/Latina communities that led to publication/performance of politically spirited and unifying poetry, art, novels and documentary film. Needless to say, we will be touching on the cultural production of many Latin@ communities: Mexican/Chicano, Puerto Rican/Nuyorican, Dominicano, Cubano,

­We will think about the convergence of a political aesthetic in the work of these novelists, poets, painters/sculptors, filmmakers, and we will try to account for the contrasts and connections with the wider spheres of art and politics that influenced their work.  To help situate and ground our thinking, we will outline the historical and political backgrounds of this period and press these up against a cultural  subjectivity that articulated resistance to the U.S. hegemony just as it often restated the patriarchal, homophobic, and nationalist /identitarian problematic that confronted the Chican@/Latin@ community in the first place. We will think about social and political content, of course, but I also want to look at the formation of a distinct aesthetic experiment with language and form/genre and audience.

Although I haven’t yet fully decided on the book list, we will definitely be reading Tomas Rivera  (y no se lo trago la tierra/and the earth did not devour him), Oscar Zeta Acosta (The Revolt of the Cockroach People), Ana Castillo (So Far From God and selected essays), Gloria Anzaldua (Borderlands/La Frontera),  Julia Alvarez (In the Time of the Butterflies), Juno Diaz (The Brief Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao, maybe That’s the Way you Lose Her), Sandra Cisneros (Woman Hollering Creek, maybe Caramelo), maybe Salvador Plascencia (The People of Paper), and then we will read selections from the poetry, drama, prose of writers like Alurista,  Sandra María Esteves,  Lorna Dee Cervantez, Gary Soto, Tato Laviera, Miguel Pinero, Josefina López,  Gustavo Pérez-Firmat.  I hope also to look at and discuss the Chican@/Latin@ art scene in New York and Los Angeles.

Serious question:  Who and what am I leaving out?  If you are thinking about taking this class, please feel free to contact me at gpadilla@berkeley.edu if you have suggestions, questions, or ideas for other figures of study we should consider.

Most of the readings are in English and/or in translation.

This course satisfies the Group 5 (Twentieth Century) requirement.

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