ENGLISH 319 - Literature and Social Change
Fall 2021, Section 002 - Literature of the Undocumented
Instruction Mode: Section 002 is  In Person (see other Sections below)
Subject: English Language and Literature (ENGLISH)
Department: LSA English Language & Literature
See additional student enrollment and course instructor information to guide you in your decision making.


Requirements & Distribution:
With permission of instructor.
May be repeated for a maximum of 6 credit(s). May be elected more than once in the same term.
Primary Instructor:
Start/End Date:
Full Term 8/30/21 - 12/10/21 (see other Sections below)
NOTE: Drop/Add deadlines are dependent on the class meeting dates and will differ for full term versus partial term offerings.
For information on drop/add deadlines, see the Office of the Registrar and search Registration Deadlines.


Stories of undocumented immigrants are often couched in terms of silence and invisibility, using expressions like “living in the shadows” and “under the radar.” Many Immigrant rights activists, on the other hand, resist this silence and invisibility and see storytelling as a political act that makes the humanity of the undocumented impossible to ignore. This class is about the politics and literature of visibility in narratives that reveal undocumented lives, as well as the theory of literature as a tool for social justice. The texts we will study illuminate the people and circumstances behind undocumented immigration, the policies that make documentation precarious and out of reach, and the sweeping generalizations and dehumanization behind terms like “illegal alien.”

In this class, we will explore how the literature of immigration has created a space for narrating undocumented lives. We will explore how shifting states of documentation - and the consequences of those shifting states - are rendered visible in fiction, poetry, essays, memoirs, oral histories, journalism, and works of visual art. Texts include Patsy by Nicole Dennis-Benn, Tell Me How It Ends by Valeria Luiselli, Dominicana by Angie Cruz, essays by Jose Antonio Vargas, and others.

Course Requirements:

Regular participation in class discussions is a key component of the class. Requirements also include weekly readings, short reading responses, a presentation, and a final project.

Intended Audience:

This class is ideal for students at all levels who are interested in thinking critically about literature through the lens of social justice.


ENGLISH 319 - Literature and Social Change
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
 In Person
TuTh 3:00PM - 5:00PM
8/30/21 - 12/10/21
002 (LEC)
 In Person
8/30/21 - 12/10/21

Textbooks/Other Materials

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Syllabi are available to current LSA students. IMPORTANT: These syllabi are provided to give students a general idea about the courses, as offered by LSA departments and programs in prior academic terms. The syllabi do not necessarily reflect the assignments, sequence of course materials, and/or course expectations that the faculty and departments/programs have for these same courses in the current and/or future terms.

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CourseProfile (Atlas)