English R1B

Reading and Composition: LGBTQ and Chicanx Literature and Cultural Work

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
11 Spring 2021 Trevino, Jason Benjamin
MWF 1-2

Book List

Anzaldúa, Gloria: Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza ; Cuadros, Gil: City of God; Islas, Arturo: The Rain God

Other Readings and Media

(all available as either a course reader or online) Short pieces by Cherríe Moraga, Jose Estéban Muñoz, Heather Love, Tomás Almaguer, Antonio Viego, Leo Bersani, Mel Chen, Michael Hames-Garcia, Judith Butler, and David Halperin.


In this course, we will explore literatures that explore LGBTQ and queer themes in Chicanx/Latinx cultural work.  In our approaches to the course material, we will consider the interrelationships between art and activism. How can not explicitly activist literature function as activism? What does canonical Chicana/o/x work emphasize and what does it invisibilize? And what are the costs?  These are some of the questions we ask as we read a set of multivalent texts that form a triangle that encompasses the Texas Río Grande Valley, Los Angeles, and the San Francisco Bay area.

As we set ourselves to the task of travelling across time and space with these authors, we will encounter a number of obstacles. We will question the political thrust of the term “queer” and encounter its denaturing in generalized academic study.  We will also think about the term “queer” in relation to LGBTQ studies and the emergence of intersectional theory that asks us to consider the importance of race, gender, sexuality, class, and nation in relation to its usefulness as a moniker for political activism.

As we analyze the various methods of research and exposition that our authors employ to convey social and literary meaning, we will work on developing our own methods of research and analysis for effective critical thinking and writing. To this end, we will focus throughout the semester on asking precise and significant questions, on identifying useful print and online sources to help us refine and answer these questions, and on translating our research findings into strong scholarly arguments. Students will author one diagnostic essay at the beginning of term, a diagnostic midterm, and a series of short essays of increasing length (for example one 3-page essay, one 5-page essay, and one seven-page essay).  These assignments will allow students ample time to consider the writing process and grow as readers and writers at Berkeley and beyond.

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