English 137T

Topics in Chicana/o Literature and Culture: The Chicana/o Novel

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
1 Spring 2016 Gonzalez, Marcial
MWF 12-1 Note new location: 100 Wheeler

Book List

Acosta, Oscar Zeta: The Revolt of the Cockroach People; Alvarez, Julia: In the Time of the Butterflies; Castillo, Ana: Sapogonia; Pineda, Cecile: Face; Rechy, John: City of Night; Ruiz, Ronald: Jesusita; Vea, Alfredo: Gods Go Begging; Viramontes, Helena M.: Their Dogs Came With Them


This course on Chicana/o and Latina/o novels complements a Chicana/o literature course I taught in the fall entitled “Migrant Narratives.”  But whereas the fall course included works that represented various literary genres (the novel, autobiography, short story, creative journalism, and poetry), the spring course will focus exclusively on the novel.  As we shall see, the formal features and thematic representations of these novels have been influenced to a large degree by a broad range of experiences: living in the borderlands of nationality, language, politics, and culture; growing up female in a male-centered environment; fighting racism; engaging in class struggle; encountering various forms of organized state repression; migration and immigration; getting involved in political movements; sometimes becoming complicit with the forces of domination; and expressing these experiences in art and literature. Because this is a reading intensive course, we will spend considerable time in class discussing the novels and doing collective close readings of selected passages. We'll be attentive to the manner in which the act of storytelling in these novels contributes to the formation of complex and sometimes contradictory cultural identities. We'll also read and discuss essays on narrative theory and history to facilitate our analysis of the aesthetic and social issues that inform the writing of these novels and to understand how Chicana/o and Latina/o novels expand and enrich the American literary tradition generally.

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