Chicana/o Latina/o Literature

Course Description

UCOP A-G Approved: Section B – English – Grades 9-12

In this literature course, we will take an exciting journey through Chicana/o Latina/o Literature. We will explore how this literature affects, documents, and creates Chicana/o Latina/o identities, politics, and the epistemologies/subjectivities of Chicana/o Latina/o authors in the United States. Through our journey we will use novels, short stories, poetry, performance, screenplays, comedy, spoken word, theatre, essays, music, and film to examine the diversity of themes, issues, and genres within the "Community" and the legacy and development of a growing “Chicana/o Latina/o Cultural Renaissance." We will also use critical performance pedagogy to engage particular problems in the literature and in the community. Through group/team work, community service, and interactive lectures and discussions we will delve into the analysis, accessibility, and application of Chicana/o Latina/o literature. We will ask questions around the issues of--and intersections between--gender, race, ethnicity, sexuality, class, language, religion, tradition, colonization, access, citizenship, migration, culture, ideology, epistemology, politics, and love. The main questions that we try to tackle in this course are: How does Chicana/o Latina/o literature represent, challenge, and/or change traditional notions of the Chicana/o Latina/o experience? How can literature be used to activate the possibilities of decolonization, activism, and social justice?

This literature course to Chicana/o Latina/o literature will examine a variety of literary genres - poetry, short fiction, essays, historical documents, and novels - to explore the historical development of Chicana/o Latina/o in the United States social and literary identity. Units will be divided literary theme. We will examine the historical, political, intellectual, and aesthetic motifs of each era. In each era, we will focus on how authors address important issues such as race, class, nationality, and appellation, and how authors represent the complexities of being caught between multiple cultures that may be defined by those concepts. In each unit of the course, students will read various genres of Chicana/o Latina/o Literature, respond to the text in various modalities, and synthesize their own understanding of each time period with the ideas presented in the texts to derive a new understanding of the individual and collective identities as they evolved over time and space. The course will also consider key literary concepts that shape and define Chicana/o Latina/o literary production. By the end of the class, students will have a comprehensive understanding of the literary and historical formation of Chicana/o Latina/o identity and the complex, even contradictory, experiences that characterize Chicana/o Latina/o culture.