This course is an exploration of politics of language as they are reflected in Latino/a literature and culture in the United States, with a special focus on the Chicano/a or Mexican-American, Nuyorican/Puerto Rican, Dominican-American, and Cuban-American experience. What role does language play in U.S. Latino/a culture? How is language a part of different communities and cultural productions? In this class, we will examine film, literature, music, performance, and video, and see how they employ Spanish, English, Spanglish, Pachuco Caló, and other language varieties, and how language proficiency affects social experience. Practices such as code-switching will receive particular attention. Analysis will focus on the role of age, class, ethnicity, family, gender, generational differences, geographical location, historical period, immigrant status, place of birth, race, and sexual orientation as these relate to linguistic usage in the works studied, and on the specific effects and uses of language in cultural productions. Consideration will be given to the ways in which each particular cultural medium produces meaning.
Readings will include works by Gloria Anzaldúa, Julia Alvarez, Josefina Baez, Guillermo Gómez-Peña, Tato Laviera, Dolores Prida, Luz María Umpierre, Luis Valdez, and others.
Course requirements include two exams and two papers (a 4-5 page midterm essay and an 8-10 page final research essay).
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Class taught in Spanish, with readings and writing assignments in Spanish.