English 203

Graduate Readings: Contemporary Chicanx/Latinx Novels

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
5 Spring 2018 Gonzalez, Marcial
TTh 2-3:30 305 Wheeler

Book List

Acosta, Oscar Zeta: The Revolt of the Cockroach People; Alvarez, Julia: In the Time of the Butterflies; Castillo, Ana: Sapogonia; Cruz, Angie: Let It Rain Coffee; Gonzalez, Rigoberto: Crossing Vines; Pineda, Cecile: Face; Plascencia, Salvador: The People of Paper; Rechy, John: City of Night; Vea, Alfredo: Gods Go Begging; Viramontes, Helena Maria: Their Dogs Came with Them


In this course, we’ll examine narrative form in several Chicanx/Latinx novels, focusing on the role of problematic narrators. We’ll explore the specific ways that these novels tend to reify the social world through the eyes and voice of their narrators as well as how they attempt to break with the rigidity of the limited viewpoints they embody. Given the limits of their viewpoints, how do these novels approximate the larger social frameworks that give meaning to the specific experiences they represent?  In an effort to answer this question, we will examine how the novels may say as much about history through their structural tensions and formal contradictions as they do through the stories they tell. As we shall see, the formal features of Chicanx/Latinx novels have been influenced to a large degree by a broad range of social 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; migrating and immigrating; getting involved in political movements; sometimes becoming complicit with the forces of domination; and expressing these experiences in art and literature. We’ll also read and discuss considerable secondary material to support our study of Chicanx/Latinx novels. Two writing assignments will be required.

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

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