2017-18 Courses in Latino Studies

Spring 2018

CWR 316/ AAS 336 / LAO 316 / ASA 316
Special Topics in Poetry: Race, Identity and Innovation
Monica Y. Youn

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.

POL 334 / SOC 333 / LAO 334
Immigration Politics and Policymaking in the U.S.
Ali A. Valenzuela

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? How and when do changing demographics affect the public's views about immigrants? What role do cultural concerns play? Do immigrants conform to nativist fears? How do members of Congress vote on immigration policy, and do they follow their constituents’ preferences? How is immigration used in elections; with what consequences? We will tackle these and other questions about immigration by examining published research and applying it to on-going campaigns and policy debates.

SOC 329 / LAO 329
Immigrant America
Tod G. Hamilton

This course seeks to expose students to the recent social science literature on contemporary immigration to the United States, its origins, adaptation patterns, and long-term effects on American society. The course will consist of lectures by the instructor combined with class discussion of assigned texts.

SPA 239 / LAS 219 / URB 239 / LAO 239
Rap, Graffiti and Urban Cultures in the Hispanic Worlds
Germán Labrador Méndez, Course Head

Graffiti and rap music have become main cultural phenomena in the last decades, revealing the desires, fears and demands of city dwellers in the Luso-Hispanic worlds, where hip-hop’s global spirit blends with local cultural traditions. In New York City, Madrid, D.F., Rio and Buenos Aires, urban cultures have expressed the transformations of cities in a globalized world, and struggles on the part of their populations. Taking the Iberian case as an axis, this course analyzes the Hispanic global expansion of hip-hop cultures from the artistic, historical, social and political angles.

THR 332 / AMS 346 / GSS 342 / LAO 332
Movements for Diversity in American Theater
Brian E. Herrera

Theater artists routinely bend, twist and break all kinds of rules to create the imaginary worlds they bring to life on stage. Why, then, has the American theater so struggled to meaningfully address questions of equity, diversity and inclusion? In this course, we undertake a critical, creative and historical overview of agitation and advocacy by theater artist-activists aiming to transform American theatre-making as both industry and creative practice, as we connect those histories with the practices, structures and events determining the ways diversity is (and is not) a guiding principle of contemporary American theater.

Fall 2017

ENG 354 / AMS 454 / LAO 354
An Introduction to Latino Literature and Culture — Latina/o Literary Worlds
Christina A. Leon

Latina/os have long been present in the story of the United States. Yet, contemporary media headlines often report an increasing, and often alarmist, “browning” of America. These headlines often rely upon stereotypes of Latina/os — morphing them into a static and falsely unified identity category. We will examine to Latina/o literature and art to note how such headlines leave out many stories. Looking at Latina/o narratives, we will consider the uniqueness of each piece in relation to place, history, and gender. Attention will be paid to how these aesthetic pieces perform modes of resistance.

SOC 210 / LAS 210 / URB 210 / LAO 210
Urban Sociology: The City and Social Change in the Americas
Patricia Fernández-Kelly

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.

SPA 329 / LAS 389 / LAO 389
Poisonous Flowers: Radical Women in Latin America
Javier E. Guerrero

The starting point is the art show “Radical Women: Latin American Art” (Los Angeles, 2017). The exhibition reevaluates the contribution of Latin American, Latina, and Chicana women to contemporary art. “Poisonous Flowers” examines the productions of outstanding Latin American female whose work has challenged our understanding of politics and the arts and had significant impact on lives and histories in the region.