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Courses

Below is a selection of courses offered by Latina/o Studies faculty. For details regarding minor requirements and advising information, please contact Julianna Chaszar (jxc50@psu.edu), undergraduate advisor.

Introduction to Latina/o Studies (LTNST 100)

T/Th, 1 to 2:15

This course provides an interdisciplinary introduction to the study of Latinas/os in the U.S. It begins with a historical overview of the major events in the U.S. southwest, Mexico, and the Caribbean that contributed to the creation of Latina/o communities in this country. The course then moves to a consideration of the social protest movements of the 1960s, including Chicano nationalism, the struggle for Puerto Rican independence, the formation of a Dominican movement in New York, and the farm worker movement. It then proceeds to present-day issues as they affect the major Latina/o groups in the U.S., attending to both similarities and differences within and between the major groups. The class addresses Latina/o participation/incorporation in the economy, the political system and public education, with attention to how public sphere participation is shaped by language, legal status, and connection to countries of origin. We also consider Latina/o cultural production, analyzing how artists across genres such as literature, film, performance, and music represent their cultures and respond creatively to the issues discussed throughout the semester.

Latina/o Border Theories (LTNST/ENGLISH 226)

Spring 2008 MWF, 1:15 to 2:05
Counts for LTNST minor and fulfills general humanities, U.S. cultures, and international cultures requirements

The course focuses on contemporary Latina/o cultural production, placing it in historical context and analyzing it through the framework of borders. We make connections between Latina/o groups, showing both similarities and differences. We examine the politics of representation, asking how artistic texts define community and individual identities that are coherent yet also embody the complexity of these identities. The texts cross and claim borders - cultural, sexual, gender, geographical, generational, spiritual, and institutional. We will ask how these art forms work to claim border spaces: How are cultural differences retained without constructing hierarchies of exclusion? What models of identity do these artists propose in response to structures of domination? We’ll read novels, short stories, poems, history, and theoretical essays; we will also watch several films.

Throughout the course, we will attend to the particular histories and cultures of Latina/o groups; it is crucial to both maintain the specificity of each culture (for example, Chicana/o, Puerto Rican, Cuban-American, and Dominican-American) and their connections to each other as Latinas/os in the U.S. We inquire into the relationship between geographical borders, such as that between the U.S. and Mexico, and other kinds of borders and border spaces.

Latina/o Cultural Expression (LTNST/CMLIT 403)

Dr.John Ochoa

This course is a consideration of U.S. Latino literature, art, and thought. Although the emphasis will be on Chicano/Border art and literature, the course will also include texts from the Dominican, Cuban-American, Puerto Rican and other contexts. We will read fiction, essays and film, but also consider poetry, visual art and performances, and cultural practice and sociological issues (like “quinceañeras” and soccer leagues) in order to discuss some of the following themes: the imaginary homeland; families and assimilation; conflicted identity; language and a sense of place. We will emphasize two basic tools of literary analysis: "close reading,and library research. However, one of the classroom projects will have quite a bit of creative latitude.
View Syllabus

Chicana/o Cultural Production (LTNST/ENGLISH 426)

T/Th 11:15 to 12:30

This course provides an overview of Chicana/o cultural production in the U.S. as well as providing more in-depth strategies and theories for analyzing this important realm. It begins historically, with attention to the construction of the U.S.-Mexican border and to the Chicana/o movements (nationalist and feminist) of the 1960s and their struggles for recognition and justice. How did Mexican-Americans in the U.S. come to claim the identity “Chicano”? How did feminists define their Chicana identity? What cultural forms were produced from these political struggles? We spend the bulk of the semester in the contemporary period: what are the most important issues facing Chicanas/os today, and how have artists responded to these issues? What is the relationship between Chicanas/os and other Latina/o groups? We look at a variety of cultural forms: literature, film, poetry, spoken word performances, television, personal essays, and music. We situate these cultural forms in the context of political debates around language, immigration, labor, trade, and other policy-related issues.