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Aesthetics and Politics in Latino/a Literature
ENGL 284
Spring 2008 not offered
Crosslisting: AMST 284

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 United States 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, Ybarra-Frausto, Flores, Fusco, and Pérez-Firmat.

Essential Capabilities: None
Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: HA ENGL
Course Format: Lecture / DiscussionGrading Mode: Graded
Level: UGRD Prerequisites: None
Fulfills a Major Requirement for: None

Last Updated on JUL-16-2024
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