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Course Information

Instructor Info:Norman Holland
Office Extension x6206
Term: 2014S
Meeting Info: Monday Wednesday
04:00 PM - 05:20 PM Emily Dickinson Hall (EDH) 5
04:00 PM - 05:20 PM Emily Dickinson Hall (EDH) 5

Contemporary Caribbean-U.S. Latino/a fictions portray authors and protagonists caught in a bind. They face the pressures of assimilation into mainstream American culture. On the other, they are all bound to a language other than American English and to memories of the lands of origin. Due to the proximity of these birthplaces (Dominican Republic, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Mexico) to New York, Miami, Chicago, protagonists and authors often idealize la familia as the source of identity and salvation. How are these predicaments resolved? What mechanisms of desire and denial are projected? How are origins re-inscribed? Will be some of the questions that guide our readings and discussions. Possible authors include Edward Rivera, Sandra Cisneros, Junot Díaz, Loida Maritza Pérez, Rosario Ferré, Cristina García, and Carlos Eire. This course satisfies the Division I distribution requirement.

Course Objectives:

By the end of this course, students will:

have an introductory knowledge of Latin@ Literature and the way it supplements and challenges traditional narratives

have an introductory knowledge of the discipline of literary studies

be able to identify ways that colonialism created and maintained institutional inequalities in the Caribbean and in the US mainland

be able to identify ways that the intersection of Spanish and English shaped, reinforced, and created new identities in North America and the Caribbean

be able to critically evaluate academic scholarship 

Evaluation Criteria:

Attendance and Class Participation: Your attendance to this class is mandatory, and will be recorded. You are expected to participate in class discussions.


Reading Preparedness: Specific reading assignments are given for each class meeting.  You are expected to do these readings before the class, to bring the reading with you to class, and to be able to answer questions from the reading material. You are expected to spend at least 3 hours preparing for each class meeting.  In three hours, you should be able to read carefully 75 pages.


Discussion Leader groups: Each student will sign up for one author on which they will help lead class discussion. All students are responsible for doing the reading, but discussion groups will become experts. You will work in small groups of one to three student discussion leaders (depending on the number of students in the class). The group will come prepared with 5-10 questions to pose to their classmates, and ideas for generating discussion.


Written Assignments:  In addition to in-class writing responses, there will be two 5 to 7 page essays.  The first will be due Friday, April 4, and the second one will be due Friday, May 2.