Spanish 315: Introduction to Latino Literature

Focus on Mexican-American Studies
(Literature in Spanish from the US)


Professor: Maureen Murov (mckenna)
Email: email
Tel. 869.5259
Office: Jackson 306 D
Office Hrs: T, Th 3:30-4:30 PM

Course Description

In this course students will approach the study of Mexican-American history and culture through this community's artistic production; specifically, we will study literature written in the US by Mexican Americans during the last 50 years. Most of the texts are prose fiction, but we will read some poetry and essays as well. Films will be shown as supplementary material. Most of the literature will be in Spanish; however, we will also read a some pieces that are either written in both Spanish and English or even exclusively in English. This is mainly due to the fact that this important body of literature in English is so rich and cannot, in its themes and content, be easily separated from the works written in the same years in Spanish. Themes that we will discuss include multi-cultural identity, bilingualism, the meaning(s) of borders and border crossing, and the chicana voice.

In addition to 2 exams, students will write a paper that includes some research and focuses on one of the themes we study and its development in 1-3 of the works we read. I will supply some sources and help students locate others. Sources may include oral interviews with local members of the Mexican-American community. Each student will also be asked to actively participate in a small group presentation on one of the short novels that I recommend but do not specifically teach in class. Of course, this work can also serve as the main work under consideration in student papers.

This class is designed to be appropriate for student with some experience reading and writing about literature in Spanish. It is, however, also an appropriate class for students coming out language course for whom this will be an introduction to literature written in Spanish.

Evaluation/ Assignments

Participation 20%

  • Attendance & Contributions
  • Preparation of Pre-Assigned Homework Study Guide Questions (10%)
  • Pop Quizzes

2 Presentations 20%
2 Take HomeExams
(1 "exam" may be a project) 35%
Paper / 15%
Annotated Bibliography 10%

*LC= Literatura Chicana/ An Anthology Ed. by Manuel de Jesus Hernandez-Gutierrez & David William Foster
** Note, the readings below are the courses main texts. I may ask you to read an additional article on reserve for some classes.

Week One

August 20
Introduction to Course and Materials

August 22
1. Octavio Ignacio Romano V. "The Historical and Intellectual Presence of Mexican Americans" (pp. 47-61)
2. Gloria Anzaldua: "La conciencia de la mestiza: Towards a New Consciousness" (pp. 75-89)
3. Richard Rodriguez, "Prologue: Middle-Class Pastoral" (pp 62-65)

Week Two

Short Stories (Cuentos)

August 27
Tomás Rivera, "Las salamandras" (LC) (pp. 107-9)

August 29
Rolando R. Hinojosa Smith, "Feliz Cumpleaños, EUA" (LC) (pp. 120-22)

Week Three

Poetry/ Poesía

September 3
J. María Alarid, "El idioma español" (LC) (p 205)
Abelardo, "Stupid America" (LC) (p 223)

September 5
Rodolfo Gonzalez, I Am Joaquin / Yo soy Joaquin (LC) (pp. 207-222)
Margarita Cota-Cardenas, "Crisis de identidad, o, Ya no chingues" (LC) (pp. 229-230)
Luis Omar Salinas, "Death in Vietnam" (LC) (p 238)

Week Four

September 10 &12
Película: Zoot Suit (Film)

Week Five


September 17 & 19
Cherrie Moraga, Giving up the Ghost (pp 301-330)

Week Six

** Examen #1

Cuentos y Poemas

September 24
Alberto Alvaro Rios, "Then They'd Watch Comedies" (pp. 135-144)
Helena Maria Viramontes, "The Moths" (pp. 145-149)
Sergio Elizondo "Coyote Emplumado" (pp. 191-197)

September 26
Yolanda Luera, "Aborto" (p. 239)
Bárbara Brinson Curiel "Recipe: Chorizo..." (pp. 272-73)

Week Seven


October 1
Aristeo Brito, El diablo en Texas (pp 333-355)

Week Eight

October 8 & 10
Aristeo Brito, El diablo en Texas (pp 355- 387/ pp 388-408)

Week Nine

October 15
Aristeo Brito, El diablo en Texas
& Book Reports

October 17
Sandra Cisneros, The House on Mango Street

Week Ten

October 22
Sandra Cisneros, The House on Mango Street

October 24
Mi vida loca (film)

Week Eleven

October 29 & 31
Mi vida loca

Week Twelve

November 5 & 7
Presentaciones/ Grupo 1: Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya

Week Thirteen

** Examen #2

November 12 & 14
Presentaciones/Grupo 2: The Mixquiahuala Letters by Ana Castillo
Annotated Bibliography/ Paper outline Due
Week Fourteen

November 19 & 21
Margarita Cota Cardenas, Puppet (en español) (pp 3-37/ 38 -74)
Annotated Bibliography/ Paper outline Due

Week Fifteen

December 3 & 5
Margarita Cota Cardenas, Puppet (en espanol) (pp 75-118/ 119- fin)
& Book Reports