Latina Literature and Community
This course studies feminist writing of women of Latin American descent in the U.S. as an oppositional expression to sexist, racist, classist and homophobic ideologies. Conceived as a community-engaged course, the focus will be on the direct connection between what we learn as literary scholars and the ways in which this knowledge can effect social change here in Eugene, Oregon. Latina/o literature is usually studied as a twentieth-century phenomenon, yet its genealogy begins in the eighteenth century, when Spanish Americans—including Mexicans, Cubans, Puerto Ricans, Venezuelans, and Colombians—variously sought refuge, immigrated, or simply were born in territories later acquired by the U.S. By reading the work of pioneering female writers (Californian Amparo Ruiz de Burton and Mexican Rosario Castellanos), we will engage with the problem of colonialism across the Americas, thinking about the seemingly unsurmountable wall between U.S. and Latin America as permeable if read through the lens of Latina writing. We will survey fiction, poetry and essays by Gloria Anzaldua, Cherrie Moraga, Martha Cotera, Lorna Dee Cervantes and Esmeralda Santiago. We will reflect on our community involvement through short written analyses of the link between aspects of the readings/class discussion and our hands-on work. The final project consists of a 7-page essay that we will present to the public during our exam day’s mini-symposium. By researching and writing this paper, we will blend our literary expertise with our lived understanding of the Latina/o experience in Lane County, and examine personally relevant social issues through the frame of Latina feminism. SERVICE-LEARNING COMPONENT REQUIRED (10+ HOURS—some flexibility).
Satisfies General Education Requirements:
- Group-Satisfying: Arts and Letters
- Multicultural Courses: Identity, Pluralism, and Tolerance (IP)