English 137B

Chicana/o Literature and Culture Since 1910: Migrant Narratives

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
1 Fall 2015 Gonzalez, Marcial
TTh 11-12:30 130 Wheeler

Book List

Acosta, Oscar Zeta: The Autobiography of a Brown Buffalo; Anzaldua, Gloria: Borderlands/La Frontera - The New Mestiza; Gonzalez, Rigoberto: Crossing Vines; Plascencia, Salvador: The People of Paper; Rivera, Tomas: Y no se lo trago la tierra; Trevino Hart, Elva: Barefoot Heart - Stories of a Migrant Child; Urrea, Luis Alberto: The Devil's Highway; Viramontes, Helena Maria: Under the Feet of Jesus

Other Readings and Media

Film: Alambrista, by Robert Young


The topic of this course is “migrant narratives,” referring both to narratives about migrants and narratives that cross boundaries of one kind or another.  We’ll read a cluster of Chicana/o literary works published between 1970 and 2005 and watch one or two films.  Even though the primary thematic focus of the course will be on migration, we’ll also explore other experiences represented in these works—race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, political activism, philosophy, art, storytelling, and writing—which have influenced the form and content of Chicana/o literature.  We'll discuss the manner in which Chicana/o literature contributes to the formation of complex and sometimes contradictory cultural identities, but we’ll also pay close attention to literary features of these works, including form, style, point of view, characterization, dialogue, and figurative language.  Several works of literary history or criticism will be included in the syllabus to facilitate our reading of the literature and to help us understand how Chicana/o literature expands and enriches the American literary tradition generally. Class participation is mandatory. Writing assignments will include two essays.

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