English 137T

Topics in Chicana/o Literature and Culture: Chicana/o Popular Culture

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
1 Fall 2017 Saldaña, Maria
TTh 11-12:30 305 Wheeler

Book List

Abel, Jessica: La Perdida; Corpi, Lucha: Black Widow's Wardrobe; Guillermo Gomez Pena et al.: Codex Espangliensis: From Columbus to the Border Patrol; Hernandez, Gilbert: Love and Rockets Vol. 14: Luba Conquers the World; Hernandez, Gilbert: Love and Rockets Vol. 8: "Blood of Palomar"; Hernandez, Jaime: Love and Rockets Vol. 13: Chester Square; Hernandez Brothers: Love and Rockets, New Stories no. 8; Joseph Rodriguez & Ruben Martinez: East Side Stories: Gang Life in East L.A.; Rechy, John: The Miraculous Day of Amalia Gomez: A Novel; Romo, Ito: The Border Is Burning; Romo, Ito: The Bridge/El Puente; Serros, Michele: Chicana Falsa: And Other Stories of Death, Identity, & Oxnard

Other Readings and Media

Short pieces (via bCourses) by Ricardo Bracho, Alice Bag, Harry Gamboa, Chingo Bling, La Santa Cecilia, and Cristina Ibarra


What is Chicanx popular culture? We answer this question by first exploring the meaning of these three terms separately. Chicana/o/x, popular (or lo popular), and culture have rich political trajectories that span the transnational context of the Americas and that reach back to the nineteenth century. The course begins with three to four weeks on the genealogy of these three terms, and some essays on aesthetics, politics, and identity. We then turn to the study of popular culture by examining various kinds of objects and texts produced by Chicanx artists since the rise of the Chicano movement in the 1960s through the "post"-nationalist, transgendered present: graphic novels, photographs, visual culture, performance, literature and film. The meaning of each of these terms—Chicana/o->x, popular, culture—is always shifting, determined by the social and political contexts of cultural production, contexts these objects allow us to explore and understand in their full complexity. Our goal is simple: to better understand the relationship that existed or exists between the Chicana/o/x artists and the populations they create art for and about through cultural products. What are the multifaceted dimensions and the multiple histories contained in these cultural products? How is "popular culture" different from mass culture or high culture? What is the difference between popular culture and cultura popular? What is the relationship between Chicana/o culture, Mexcian culture, and the Chicanx present? How do objects of culture address questions of identity, asethetics, geography, history, politics, and political art? These are the questions this course seeks to investigate and address.

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