Spanish 50-01; Made in the USA:  Hispanics,
Hybrid Identities and Fictional Spaces

First Year Seminar

 

 

Fall 2001

MWF 1:10 - 2:10 p.m.

Humanities 217

 

Professor:                    Galo F. Gonzalez

Office:                         Humanities 201

Office Hours:              11 a.m. –12:30 p.m. MWF and by appointment

Phone:                         651-696-6133

E-mail:                         Gonzalez@macalester.edu

 

 

Course Description:

                        What makes an American?  The diverse ethnic groups, continuous immigration and a hybrid national identity clash and meld into the new American identity.  Defining national boundaries, identities, and cultural traditions has become a quest for first and second-generation immigrants from the Hispanic world.  This course examines the experiences of Hispanics from diverse backgrounds who have gone through, or are going through, the process of reclaiming a single identity.

 

                        We will read fiction and non-fiction works from Puerto Rican, Cuban-American, Mexican-American, and Chilean first and second-generation immigrants as examples, along with some theoretical concepts of cultural identity authored by Cultural Studies experts (Stuart Hall, Paul Du Gay, Zygmunt Bauman, and Homi Bhabha), philosophers (Jorge J.E. Gracia, Linda Martin Alcoff, and Eduardo Mendieta, among others), sociologists (Suzanne Oboler), and literary critics (Walter Mignolo, Ofelia Schutte, and Paula M.L. Moya) concerned with ethnic, racial and national conceptions of cultural identity in general, and Hispanic/Latino identity in particular.  We will also explore examples of cultural identity in other media (film, and documentaries).  Together we will attempt to define what is the Hispanic/Latino/Chicano identity in the USA.  In this process, students will be expected to develop critical thinking and strengthen their writing skills by using the various media to inform their own writings.

 

Reading List

 

The following books are available at Ruminator Bookstore.

 

Theory:

 

Jorge J.E. Gracia, Editor.  Hispanics/Latinos in the US:  Ethnicity, Race, and Rights.  Routledge:  New York/London, 2000.  ISBN:  041592619X

 

Stuart Hall and Paul Du Gay, editors.  Questions of Cultural Identity.  Sage Publications:  London, 1996.  ISBN:  0803978839

 

Fiction and Non-fiction:

 

Alejandro Gac-Artigas.  Yo Alejandro.  Ediciones Nuevo Espacio:  New Jersey, 2000.  ISBN: 1930879210

 

Cristina García.  The Agüero Sisters.  Ballantine Books:  New York, 1998.  ISBN:  0345406516

 

Guillermo Gómez-Peña.  The New World Border.  City Lights:  San Francisco, 1996.  ISBN:  0872863131

 

Estela Portillo Trambley.  Rain of Scorpions, and Other Stories.  Bilingual Press:  Tempe, Arizona, 1993.  ISBN:  0927534282

 

George Rabasa.  Floating Kingdom:  A Novel.  Coffee House Press:  Minneapolis, 1997.  ISBN:  1566890632

 

Mariana Romo-Carmona.  Speaking Like an Immigrant.  The Latina Lesbian History Project:  New York, 1998.  ISBN:  0961945036

 

MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, most recent edition.

 

Recommended Reading (on 2-Hour Library Reserve):

 

Carl Gutierrez-Jones.  Rethinking the Borderlands:  Between Chicano Culture and Legal Discourse.  University of California Press:  Berkeley/Los Angeles, 1995.  ISBN: 0520085795

 

Stuart Hall.  Representation:  Cultural Representations and Signifying Practices.  (Culture, Media, and Identities, Vol. 2).  Sage Publications:  London,1997.  ISBN:  0761954325

 

 

                        In addition to the books, the following list of videos and films (in video form) will be viewed as part of required materials for the class.  The videos will be on reserve at the professor’s office.  A simple reserve system will be in place at the instructor’s office for student use when needed.  These videos are part of the instructor’s private collection.  Students will be responsible for replacing videos that are misplaced.

 

Videos (to be viewed in class):

 

The West:  Empire Upon the Trials.  PBS, Home Video.  By Stephen Ives.  84 minutes.  1996.

 

Latin Beat:  Latino Culture in the United States.  Films for the Humanities and Science.  www.films.com  #ECX11366.  2 hours.  2000.

 

Son of the Border Crisis.  (7 video poems).  By Guillermo Gómez-Peña.  CineWest.  30 minutes.  1993.

 

The Couple in the Cage:  The Guatinaui Odyssey.  By Coco Fusco.  National Video Industries.  31 minutes.  1993.

 

Victim of Two Cultures:  Richard Rodriguez.  Films for the Humanities and Science.  www.films.com , # ECX44989.  42 minutes.  2000.

 

Films (to be viewed outside of class time):

 

John Sayles.  Lone Star.  USA 1996.  (2 hours, 35 minutes).

 

Randa Haines.  Dance With Me.  USA 1998.

 

Leon Ichaso.  Crossover Dreams.  USA 1985.  (85 minutes).

 

Allison Anders.  Mi vida loca:  My Crazy Life.  USA 1994.  (94 minutes).

 

Cheech Marin.  Born in East L.A.  USA 1987.

 

 

Evaluation:

                        The work for this course consists of:  extensive readings, research exercises, writing essays, and a combination of lectures, group and individual presentations, and class discussions.  Students will be evaluated on the basis of:

 

1.  Class participation/ group presentations                        25%

2.  Midterm essay examination (take-home)                       15%

3.  Final term paper and oral presentation (15 minute)       30%

4.  Short essays (three 5-page papers)                                30%

                                                                                             _____

Total                                                                                    100%

 

Students must complete all this criteria to get credit for the course. 

 

Important dates.  Tentatively the three short essays will be due on the following dates:  the first on Friday, SEPT. 21, the second essay on Friday, OCT. 5, and the third on Friday, NOV. 16.  The Midterm essay examination is scheduled for Friday, OCT. 19.  The Final term paper should be in by DEC. 19.  The oral presentations will be based on the topic and research chosen by the students for their final paper.  The oral presentations are scheduled for the last four class sessions of the semester DEC. 7, 10, 12, and 14.  Classes end DEC 14.

 

Class participation and discussions are the essence of the course.  Since the course is a seminar, sharing knowledge and experiences is important for the success of the course.  Do not hesitate to ask questions, or to disagree with the instructor, with the materials, or with other peers.  However, since many of us may not have extensive experience in discussing topics related to race and race relations in a public forum in which people will disagree, it is important to set up a class atmosphere in which all points of view are welcomed without fear of personal retaliation.  It is crucial that students organize the discussions around developing shared understandings rather than an individual making points.  Students are asked to let the professor know if at any time they are not comfortable with the class atmosphere.

 

Groups and Groups-presentations.  To utilize class time discussions more effectively, the class will be divided into clusters of 4 students per group; each group may select a leader or leaders to guide class discussions of materials assigned for the session.  However, all members of the group (and groups) are expected to participate.  In preparation for these group presentations, students are requested to formulate and write questions, arguments, and examples useful to the understanding of readings, videos or films.   Students from other groups are encouraged to send questions to group leader(s) in charge of guiding the discussion.  Exceptional participation will be rewarded.

 

Papers will be graded in accordance with Paper Guidelines included in the syllabus.  Late papers will be penalized one grade.  If student is going to miss a class or a deadline, please let the instructor know by phone, e-mail, or any other useful means; likewise, if you miss a class or deadline due to illness or other significant reasons, notify the professor as soon as possible.  If you need help with papers contact the professor or make use of Learning Center experts in developing writing skills.  Plagiarism will be dealt with by following the Macalester guidelines for Academic Honesty found in the student’s Handbook.

 

Absences without explanation are not acceptable.  The designed format of this seminar requires regular attendance of students to class.  The success of class discussions is based on the continuous presence of all members of the groups.   More than two absences will lower a student's grade.

 

Paper Guidelines:

 

NOTE:  The following document is modeled after the guidelines used by Professors Leola Johnson and Clay Steinman, Communications Department, Macalester College, Communications 88, spring semester 2001, pp. 6-7. 

 

            Papers should be typed, double-spaced, stapled, and it should follow the MLA Handbook for Writers for style and documentation.  Students should make sure to document all references used to support her/his paper, including page numbers.

 

            The criteria for grading papers is as follows:

 

An A paper shows the writer’s skill in mastering the concepts presented through the materials studied, read, or viewed for the class.  She/he is able to apply the concepts in an imaginative and insightful manner.  The paper demonstrates a command of the language; the author expresses ideas or thoughts clearly, effectively, and concisely with virtually no mechanical errors.  The paper is consistent in providing adequate documentation. 

 

A B paper shows that the writer understands the concepts of the course and materials presented, and has applied them with some originality.  The paper shows that the writer can organize a coherent essay with few mechanical errors.  For the most part, the paper includes adequate documentation.

 

A C paper shows that the writer understands most of the concepts of the course and materials, but needs to pay more attention to detail in reading or writing.  Documentation is spotty.

 

A D paper shows that the writer has only a minimal understanding of the concepts of the course and materials.  Significant gaps in the writer’s comprehension indicate the need for more study.  The paper shows that the writer’s basic compositional skills are below satisfactory for university work.  Documentation is inadequate and unsatisfactory.

 

An NC paper shows that the writer has little, if any, understanding of the course and concepts.  The paper may show one or many faults:  a lack of skill or concern; gross errors of fact; a conspicuous lack of content; failure to address parts of the assignment; negligible documentation.

 

Please see me if you have questions about these standards or any of your grades. 

 

Plagiarism will be handled according to the Macalester guidelines for Academic Honesty found in the student’s Handbook.

 

 

Course Schedule

 

               The course is scheduled for 3 one-hour meetings per week of class time.  However, students are asked to attend 5 extra sessions of about 2 ½ hours each in order to view the films.  Three of these sessions will be at the Professor’s home, and two will be at the Spanish House (180/182 Vernon Street).

               Readings and papers are due on the days noted.  Students are expected to prepare all readings prior to class sessions.  It is recommended that students look up definitions of unfamiliar terms.  Due to the nature of the course some theory is inevitable.  Students may need to consult dictionaries.  Students should expect to spend about 10 hours per week outside of class time in study.

 

 

Week 1

*Sept 2            Introduction to the course

                        Initial discussion on Romo-Carmona, Speaking

                        Video:  The West:  Empire Upon the Trials, Stephen Ives, PBS, 1996

 

SPECIAL NOTE:  Due to the nature of the readings and discussion, some very basic background theory on culture is necessary.  Students must read (at their own pace during the first two to three weeks of classes) chapters one and four from Stuart Hall’s Representation, Cultural Representations and Signifying Practices.  This book is on two-hour reserve at the library.  If possible, begin the reading of  chapter one before the end of the first week of classes.

 

Sept 5              Video:  The West:  Empire Upon the Trials (continues)

                        Hall, Questions of Cultural Identity, "Introduction, Who Needs Identity?" 1-17

 

Sept 7              Romo-Carmona, Speaking, (Contraband, and Orphans)

                        Bhabha, Questions, Culture’s In-Between, 53-60

 

 

Week 2

Sept 10            Romo-Carmona, Speaking, (The Web, and 2280)

Martín Alcoff, Hispanics/Latinos in the US, Is Latina/o Identity a Racial
Identity?,
23-44.

Group presentation and discussion

 

Sept 12            Romo-Carmona, Speaking, (Welcome to America, and Fear)
 Martín Alcoff
, Hispanics/Latinos in the US, Is Latina/o Identity a Racial
Identity?,
23-44.

                        Group presentation and discussion

 

Sept 14            Romo-Carmona, Speaking, (Gabriela, and New England Reconsidered)
                        Grossberg
, Questions, Identity and Cultural Studies.  Is that all. . ., 87-107
                        Group presentation and discussion

 

*Sept 15         Movie Night:  Randa Haines,  Dance With Me.  USA 1998
at Galo’s Home (1489 Van Buren, Saint Paul), 7:00-9:00 P. M.

 

Week 3

Sept 17            Video:  Latin Beat, (part 1, 45 minutes)
Group discussion

 

Sept 19            Video:  Victim of Two Cultures:  Richard Rodriguez
                       
in preparation of Mr. Rodriguez visit to Macalester

 

*Sept 20         ATTEND Mr. Richard Rodriguez’s lecture:  Losing One’s Way
                        11:45-1:00.  SPECIAL EVENT

 

Sept 21            Rodriguez and assimilation:  Post-visit discussion.

                        Moya, Questions, Cultural Particularity versus Universal Humanity, 77-87

 

                        **First Short Essay Due

 

Week 4

Sept 24            García, The Agüero Sisters, 1-112
                        Schutte
, Hispanics/Latinos in the US, Negotiating Latina Identities, 61-75

                        Group presentation and discussion

 

Sept 26            García, The Agüero Sisters, 113-202
                        Schutte
, Hispanics/Latinos in the US, Negotiating Latina Identities, 61-75

                        Group presentation and discussion

 

Sept 28            García, The Agüero Sisters, 203-300
                        Schutte
, Hispanics/Latinos in the US, Negotiating Latina Identities, 61-75

                        Group presentation and discussion

 

*Movie Night:  Leon Ichaso.  Crossover Dreams.  USA 1985.  (85 minutes)
at the Spanish House, 180-182Vernon Street, 7:00-9:00 P.M.

 

Week 5

Oct 1               Gac-Artigas, Yo Alejandro, 1-53
Mendieta
, Hispanics/Latinos in the US, The Making of New Peoples, 47-59

                        Group presentation and discussion

 

Oct 3               Gac-Artigas, Yo Alejandro, 55-106
Mendieta
, Hispanics/Latinos in the US, The Making of New Peoples, 47-59

                        Group presentation and discussion

 

Oct 5               Video:  Latin Beat, part 2, 45 minutes

                        Group discussion

 

                        **Second Short  Essay Due

 

 

Week 6

Oct 8               Mignolo, Hispanics/Latinos in the US, The Larger Picture.
                        Hispanics/Latinos (and Latino Studies) in the Colonial Horizon

                        of Modernity, 100-124

                        Group discussion

 

Oct 10             Portillo Trambley, Rain of Scorpions, Village, 91-98, and
La Yonfantayn, 99-110

                        Oboler, Hispanics/Latinos in the US, It Must Be Fake, 125-144

                        Group presentation and discussion

 

 

Oct 12             Juanita Garciagodoy, Day of the Dead.  A Cultural Tradition in the US

                        Lecture and activity

 

 

*Oct 13           Movie Night:  John Sayles.  Lone Star.  USA 1996.  (2 hours, 35 minutes)
at Galo’s Home (1489 Van Buren, Saint Paul), 7:00-9:45 P. M.

 

 

Week 7

Oct 15             Portillo Trambley, Rain of Scorpions, The Burning, 71-79, and
If It Weren’t for the Honeysuckle, 47-70
Oboler
, Hispanics/Latinos in the US, It Must Be Fake, 125-144

                        Group Presentation and discussion

 

Oct 17             Portillo Trambley, Rain of Scorpions,  Pay the Criers, 15-35, and
The Paris Gown, 36-46

                        Bauman, Questions, From Pilgrim to Tourist. . , 18-36

                        Group presentation and discussion

 

Oct 19             Portillo Trambley, Rain of Scorpions, Rain of Scorpions, 111-138

                        Bauman, Questions, From Pilgrim to Tourist. . , 18-36

                        Group presentation and discussion

 

Week 8

Oct 22             **MIDTERM PAPER DUE**
Portillo Trambley
, Rain of Scorpions, Rain of Scorpions, 139-169

                        Oboler, Hispanics/Latinos in the US, It Must Be Fake, 125-144

                        Group presentation and discussion

 

Oct 24             Video:  Latin Beat, part 3

                        Discussion

 

Oct 25-28        FALL BREAK

 

Week 9

Oct 29             Rabasa, Floating Kingdom, 1-89

Marion Young, Hispanics/Latinos in the US, Structure, Difference, and Hispanic/Latino Claims of Justice, 147-165

                        Group presentation and discussion

 

Oct 31             Rabasa, Floating Kingdom, 90-162

Marion Young, Hispanics/Latinos in the US, Structure, Difference, and Hispanic/Latino Claims of Justice, 147-165

                        Group presentation and discussion

 

Nov 2              Participate in the Day of the Dead MacMuertos
organized by Juanita Garciagodoy

 

Week 10

Nov 5              Rabasa, Floating Kingdom, 163-250

Zaibert et al, Hispanics/Latinos in the US, Universalism, Particularism, and
Group Rights,
167-179

                        Group presentation and discussion

 

Nov 7              Rabasa, Floating Kingdom, 251-328

Zaibert et al, Hispanics/Latinos in the US, Universalism, Particularism, and
Group Rights,
167-179

                        Group presentation and discussion

 

Nov 9              Conversation with George Rabasa

                        Personal Views from a Hispanic/Latino novelist

 

*Movie Night:  Cheech Marin.  Born in East L.A.  USA 1987.
at the Spanish House, 180-182Vernon Street, 7:00-9:00 P.M.

 

Week 11

Nov 12            Goméz-Peña, The New World Border, Freefalling ,
                        "The Free trade Art Agreement," and
The New World Border, 1-47

                        Group presentation and discussion

 

Nov 14            Goméz-Peña, The New World Border, Real Life Border Thriller, 50-71
Pogge
, Hispanics/Latinos in the US, Accommodation Rights
for Hispanics,
182-200

                        Group presentation and discussion

 

Nov 16            Video:  Goméz-Peña and Coco Fusco, The Couple in the Cage

                        Discussion

 

                        **Third Short  Essay Due

 

Week 12

Nov 19            Goméz-Peña, The New World Border, Naftaztec:  Pirate Cyber  TV
for A.D. 2000,
111-125

                        Pogge, Hispanics/Latinos in the US, Accommodation Rights
for Hispanics,
182-200

                        Group presentation and discussion

 

Nov 21            Goméz-Peña, The New World Border, Borderama, 127-153

                        Group presentation and discussion

 

Nov 22-25       THANKSGIVING BREAK

 

Week 13

Nov 26            Video:  Goméz-Peña, Son of the Border Crisis.  (7 video poems)

                        Discussion

 

Nov 28            Goméz-Peña, The New World Border, Seminar on Museum
Race Relations,
155-167
Gracia
, Hispanics/Latinos in the US, Affirmative Action for Hispanics?
Yes and No,
201-221

                        Group presentation and discussion

 

Nov 30            Goméz-Peña, The New World Border, The Last Migration, 193-204

                        Corlett, Hispanics/Latinos in the US, Latino Identity and

                        Affirmative Action, 223-234

                        Group presentation and discussion

 

*Dec 1            Movie Night:  Allison Anders.  Mi vida loca:  My Crazy Life.  USA 1994.  (94 minutes) at Galo’s Home (1489 Van Buren, Saint Paul), 7:00-9:00 P. M.

 

Week 14

Dec 3               Goméz-Peña, The New World Border, The Last Migration, 205-217

                        Corlett, Hispanics/Latinos in the US, Latino Identity and

                        Affirmative Action, 223-234

                        Group presentation and discussion

 

Dec 5               Goméz-Peña, The New World Border, The Last Migration, 217-239

                        Conclusions

                        Course Evaluations

 

Dec 7               Oral Presentations on Research for Term Paper, members of GROUP # 1

 

Week 15:

Dec 10             Oral Presentations on Research for Term Paper, members of GROUP # 2

 

Dec 12             Oral Presentations on Research for Term Paper, members of GROUP # 3

 

Dec 14             Oral Presentations on Research for Term Paper, members of GROUP # 4

 

 

*DEC 19         FINAL TERM PAPER due in Hum 201 (Galo’s Office) at 4:00 P. M.

 

 

HAVE A GREAT SEMESTER BREAK AND HAPPY HOLIDAYS!