Can a literary text help to change the world? How? Ethnic literatures are often read with such questions in mind, merely as functions of a historical or social context. But as readers we must also attend to the ways in which artists attempt to constitute and transform the symbolic universes in which they live. This course will analyze how questions of aesthetic form play a fundamental role in the interventions that Latino/a artists seek to make in U. S. culture(s). We will examine such topics as: 1). Literary constructions of, and analyses of the tensions within, Latino/a identity. Is Latinidad defined by "race," class, culture, national heritage - all of the above? How do U.S. and Latin American concepts of "race" and culture differ or supplement one another? 2). The practical questions raised by multilingualism and multiculturalism. How do Latino/a cultures help to transform concepts of the public sphere? Must we all share a common culture or language for democracy to work? and 3). How the formal elements of a work help to produce its political effects. How do bilingual code-switching or acts of translation, for example, disrupt the unity of cultural meanings and pluralize the possibilities for knowing historical truth? What effects do artists achieve by writing "history" as poetry, or by restaging media events or religious rituals as theatrical performances? How do avant-garde techniques such as defamiliarization, irony, parody, pastiche, and resignification contribute to Latino/a cultural expressions? The course will examine a variety of genres, including poems, novels, plays, films, and performance art. All readings are in English or will have translations provided. Readings from critical theorists include Shklovsky, Benjamin, Johnson, Jameson, Ybarra-Frausto, Flores, Fusco, and Pérez-Firmat.
COURSE FORMAT: Lecture/Discussion
Level: UGRD Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: HA ENGL Grading Mode: Graded
Last Updated on MAR-30-2006
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