2020-21 Courses in Latino Studies

Spring 2021

Introduction to Latino/a/x Studies
This is an introductory survey of critical topics, themes, and approaches to the interdisciplinary field of Latin@x Studies. Drawing from anthropology, sociology, history, literature, critical race studies, gender and sexuality studies, this course will analyze the role and position of Latin@x in the United States alongside the policies and practices of the U.S. in the Caribbean and Latin America. The course will explore questions of citizenship, immigration, imperialism, settler/colonialism, border crossing/borderlands, mass incarceration, policing, globalization, and other emerging formations of latinidad from a transnational perspective.
Instructors: Heidy Sarabia
Latinx Autobiography
This course begins from the disjoint and relation between the narrated autobiography and the lived life. In reading works by authors including Myriam Gurba, Wendy C. Ortiz, Carmen Maria Machado, Richard Rodriguez, and Junot Diaz, we will explore not only how writers experiment with the project of narrating a life that contends with the structures and strictures of racial matrices, gender binaries, and traumatic abuse — but also how writers test the boundaries of what autobiographies more generally are and are for.
Instructors: Monica Huerta
Immigration Politics and Policymaking in the U.S.
Founded and built by immigrants, the U.S. has a complicated relationship with newcomers. How have politics shaped U.S. immigration policy and the policymaking process? Do members of Congress follow their constituents’ preferences? How are immigration messages used by campaigns; with what effects? Why do changing demographics affect immigration policy views? Do immigrants integrate or conform to nativist fears? In thinking about immigrants, why do most Americans think about Latino immigrants and how does this affect U.S. Latinos? We will tackle these and other questions by examining published research and applying it to recent campaigns and debates.
Instructors: Ali Adam Valenzuela
Afro-Diasporic Dialogues: Black Activism in Latin America and the United States
This course investigates how people of African descent in the Americas have forged social, political, and cultural ties across geopolitical and linguistic boundaries. We will interrogate the transnational dialogue between African Americans and Afro-Latin Americans using case studies from Brazil, Cuba, Haiti, and Puerto Rico. We will explore how Black activists and artists from the U.S. have partnered with people of color in Latin America and the Caribbean to challenge racism and economic inequality, while also considering why efforts to mobilize Afro-descendants across the Americas have often been undermined by mutual misunderstandings.
Instructors: Reena N. Goldthree
Topics in Latinx Literature and Culture: Latinx Literary Worlds
This course will look to the many narratives and histories that comprise the multiple worlds of Latinx literatures. How does the term Latinx respond to questions of gender and language? What does the history of naming this pan-ethnic group tell us about U.S. racial-ethnic categories? How do borders become an occasion to rethink space and psyche, as well as entangled crisis? Taking a hemispheric approach, this course will examine how Latinx texts lend imagination and poetic vision to the experience of migration, the movements of diaspora, and the lasting effects of colonization.
Instructors: Christina León
Urban Sociology: The City and Social Change in the Americas
By taking a comparative approach, this course examines the role of social, economic, and political factors in the emergence and transformation of modern cities in the United States and selected areas of Latin America. We consider the city in its dual image: both as a center of progress and as a redoubt of social problems, especially poverty. Attention is given to spatial processes that have resulted in the aggregation and desegregation of populations differentiated by social class and race.
Instructors: Patricia Fernández-Kelly
Introduction to Latin American Cultures
An introduction to Latin American cultures and artistic and literary traditions through a wide spectrum of materials and short texts. We will discuss relevant issues in Latin American cultural, political, and social history, including the legacy of colonialism and indigenous resistance, national fictions, popular and mass culture, and gender and racial politics. Among others, we will consider short stories by Julio Cortazar and Samanta Schweblin, poems by Afro-Cuban poet Nicolás Gillén, paintings by Frida Kahlo, films by Ciro Guerra and Alfonso Cuarón, and Juan Rulfo’s short masterpiece Pedro Paramo.
Instructors: Gabriela Nouzeilles
Theater and Society Now
As an art form, theater operates in the shared space and time of the present moment while also manifesting imagined worlds untethered by the limits of “real” life. In this course, we undertake a critical, creative and historical survey of the ways contemporary theater-making in the United States — as both industry and creative practice — does (and does not) engage the most urgent concerns of contemporary American society.
Instructors: Brian Eugenio Herrera
Documentary Film and the City
How can character-driven documentary film effectively shed light on complex social issues? How do the methods we use to observe the world shape the stories we tell? In this seminar in non-fiction film, we focus together on the Latinx/migrant communities in Trenton, working at the intersection of journalism and portraiture. We will bend to match the conditions — and compelling stories — of pandemic, building skills in research, production, and editing to make finished documentaries. Class includes readings, screenings, and discussion. We pay close attention to strategies of working with film subjects and the ethics of those relationships.
Instructors: Purcell Carson

Fall 2020

Latinx Autobiography
This course begins from the disjoint and relation between the narrated autobiography and the lived life. In reading works by authors including Myriam Gurba, Wendy C. Ortiz, Carmen Maria Machado, Richard Rodriguez, and Junot Diaz, we will explore not only how writers experiment with the project of narrating a life that contends with the structures and strictures of racial matrices, gender binaries, and traumatic abuse — but also how writers test the boundaries of what autobiographies more generally are and are for.
Instructors: Monica Huerta
Special Topics in Poetry: Race, Identity and Innovation
This workshop explores the link between racial identity and poetic innovation in work by contemporary poets of color. Experimental or avant-garde poetry in the American literary tradition has often defined itself as “impersonal,” “against expression” or “post-identity.” Unfortunately, this mindset has tended to exclude or downplay poems that engage issues of racial identity. This course explores works where poets of color have treated racial identity as a means to destabilize literary ideals of beauty, mastery and the autonomy of the text while at the same time engaging in poetic practices that subvert conceptions of identity or authenticity.
Instructors: Monica Youngna Youn
Latinx Musicals on Stage and Screen
This course offers an intensive survey of how Latina/o/x performers, characters, cultures, narratives and musical styles have always been a constitutive feature of the “American musical” — as performance genre, practice and tradition — on both stage and screen. The course’s study of notable Latinx musicals (in terms of form, content and context) will examine the history of U.S. popular performance alongside Latina/o/x cultural histories.
Instructors: Brian Eugenio Herrera
Spanish in the Community
This course explores the complexities of Spanish language in the United States. Through a variety of readings, videos, and documents in Spanish and English, we will address a range of issues including the past and present of Spanish language in the U.S., the relationship between language and identity, and the tensions and hopes around the maintenance of Spanish in immigrant communities.
Instructors: Alberto Bruzos Moro
Theater and Society Now
As an art form, theater operates in the shared space and time of the present moment while also manifesting imagined worlds untethered by the limits of “real” life. In this course, we undertake a critical, creative and historical survey of the ways contemporary theater-making in the United States — as both industry and creative practice — does (and does not) engage the most urgent concerns of contemporary American society.
Instructors: Brian Eugenio Herrera