English 259: Chicano/Chicana Literature
Wintersession 2013
Professor Kenneth  McNeil 
Office phone: 5-4578 
e-mail: mcneilk@easternct.edu
Office: Webb Hall  230
http://www.easternct.edu/personal/faculty/mcneilk


Required Materials
The Autobiography of a Brown Buffalo, Oscar Zeta Acosta
The House on Mango Street, Sandra Cisneros
Copy Packet

Course Description
In this course we will be examining the development of Chicano/Chicana identity, as it has been voiced in the latter half of the twentieth century. Our primary focus will be on literature written after the 1960s and the rise of Chicanismo as a defiant social consciousness in the United States. We will be looking at the different ways that writers and others have used evocations of the land, language, history, and culture to define a distinctive Chicano identity. Along the way we will be exploring questions and controversies that have surrounded the term "Chicano." What, if anything, for example distinguishes the Chicano from the Mexican-American? How does Chicano culture and identity intersect or contrast with other Latino identities in the United States? Do questions of gender or sexuality complicate or suggest alternatives to a standardized notion of what it means to be Chicano or Chicana?  In addition to the texts, we will be examining other cultural works to help contextualize the works and concepts we will be reading in class.

Course Requirements
Response papers 40%

Quizzes 5%

Participation 10%

In-class writing assignments 25%

Oral Group Presentation 10%

Final Project 10%

Response Papers
    Response One
    Response Two
    Response Three
    Response Four

Papers are due in class on the assigned date. Late papers will not be accepted. 

Avoid plagiarism (stealing the exact words or ideas of another) like the plague. In this class acts of plagiarism incur a zero and could also result in course failure.

Presentation
I will divide the class up into three groups. These presentations are intended to provide the class with helpful background material on Chicano culture and history in the United States.  Each presentation will be devoted to  a specific topic.  (See the Calendar for specific topics)  Each presentation should be at least 10 minutes (and last no more than 15 minutes) and must include at least one handout to be given to the class as a whole.  (You must also turn in a written bibliography of your sources to me.) Beyond the handout and the bibliography, the materials and format of the presentations are only limited by the group's imagination and may include use of a variety of media.

Exams
In addition to a final project, there will be two short quizzes. These are intended merely to give friendly encouragement to keep up with the assigned reading in class.

Participation
Regular attendance of classes is absolutely expected for this course. I will divide the class in increments of time. Three or more missed increments will severely affect your participation grade.

Calendar

Day One: January 1

Introduction

Flags and food: constructing national/ethnic consciousness and a sense of identity

Images of characters of Mexican descent in Hollywood: Treasure of the Sierra Madre

In-class writing assignment, class discussion: stereotyping

Oscar Zeta Acosta, The Autobiography of a Brown Buffalo

Homework:

Read Oscar Zeta Acosta, The Autobiography of a Brown Buffalo (read to end)

Read Gloria Anzaldúa, Borderlands/La Frontera (read 1-41, Chapters 1-3)

Select a reading passage

Day Two: January 2

Contested histories:  The Alamo

Gloria Anzaldúa, Borderlands/La Frontera

The Virgin of Guadalupe: traditional vs. contemporary uses of her image

In-class writing assignment

Oral presentation research

Homework:

Read Gloria Anzaldúa, Borderlands/ La Frontera (Chapter 5, pg 53-64)

Read Richard Rodriguez, Days of Obligation (read xv-xix, the Introduction, and 1-25, Chapter 1, "India")

Do reading Response Assignment One

Select a reading passage

Day Three: January 3

Oral Presentation One

Oscar Zeta Acosta, The Autobiography of a Brown Buffalo

Border Ballads: the Corrido

Gloria Anzaldúa, Borderlands/ La Frontera "How to Tame a Wild Tongue"

Richard Rodriguez, Days of Obligation Introduction, and Chapter 1, "India"

In-class Writing Assignment: Images of the Indian

Homework:

Read Sandra Cisneros, The House on Mango Street (read to pg. 62, "Elenita, Cards, Palm, Water")

Read Richard Rodriguez, Days of Obligation (48-79, Chapter 3, Mexico's Children)

Do Reading Response Assignment Two

Select a reading passage

Day Four: January 4

Oral Presentation Two

Sandra Cisneros, The House on Mango Street

Richard Rodriguez, Days of Obligation (Chapter 3, "Mexico's Children")

Film screening: Mi Vida Loca

Homework:

Read Sandra Cisneros, The House on Mango Street (read to end)

Read Guillermo Gómez-Peña, New World Border (read to pg. 48)

Do Reading Response Assignment Three

Select a reading passage

Day Five: January 5

Oral Presentation Three

In-class writing assignment: Mi vida Loca

Sandra Cisneros, The House on Mango Street

Guillermo Gómez-Peña, New World Border (to pg. 48)

Homework:

Do Reading Response Assignment Four

Guillermo Gómez-Peña, New World Border (read pg. 127-153, "Borderama")

Select a reading passage

Day Six: January 6

Guillermo Gómez-Peña, New World Border ("Borderama")

"Cyber Pochos" and satire

Guillermo Gómez-Peña, performance video

In-class writing assignment: Guillermo Gómez-Peña, performance video

Homework:

Final Project

Weather Cancellations

Call 860-465-4444 or toll-free in CT, 1-800-578-1449. Cancellations are also announced on many radio stations and on the following TV stations: WSF 3, WVIT 30, and WTNH 8. Please note that faculty and students are NOT be notified of weather cancellations on an individual basis.

Some Useful Links
Beginning Library Research on Chicano/Latino Studies
The Chicana Feminist Homepage
Chicano and Chicana Space
Plaza de la Raza
Cyber Barrio
The Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz Project

Illustration:  Self-Portrait Between the Borderline of Mexico and the United States, Frida Kahlo, 1932


"If you are a student with a disability and believe you will need accommodations for this class, it is your responsibility to contact the Office of Disability Services at (860) 465-5573.  To avoid any delay in the receipt of accommodations, you should contact the Office of Disability Services as soon as possible.  Please understand that I cannot provide accommodations based upon disability until I have received an accommodation letter from the Office of Disability Services.  Your cooperation is appreciated."

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