Summer 2020 English Course Descriptions
ENGL 101: Intro to Creative Writing (AR)
Examines theory and practice of writing creatively. Reading combined with practice in the basic processes of and strategies for writing fiction, poetry, or drama. Prerequisite(s): none
ENGL 111: Latinx Fiction from 1980-Present (LIT, U)
With the founding of El Teatro Campesino (The Farmworkers’ Theatre) in 1965, Luis Valdez inspired a national movement of theatre troupes dedicated to the exposure of socio-political problems within the Chicanx communities of the U.S. American drama has never been the same. This course will focus on plays by recent and contemporary Latinx writers in the United States (hereafter Latinxs), a group composed of diverse peoples from Latin America and the Caribbean, former Latin American communities incorporated into the United States, and successive generations of their offspring. Most of the authors whose work we will study were born in the U.S.; most retain cultural and linguistic ties to their ancestral countries and regions, even as they negotiate their often-problematized American identities: Chicano/a, Nuyorican, etc. We will begin our study with an examination of the impact of El Teatro Campesino and with the work of Valdez (Zoot Suit, Valley of the Heart), and will proceed to study texts by such writers as Quiara Alegra Hudes (Water by the Spoonful), Jos Rivera (Marisol), Cherre Moraga (Heroes and Saints, The Hungry Woman), and Octavio Solis (Lydia), among others. All texts are written in English, although several, like, for example, Zoot Suit, by Valdez, foreground linguistic code switching as it relates to the experience of being Latinx (Latinidad).
As we study these plays, students will develop an understanding of styles and structures of theatrical expression and the ways in which they function in the service of dramas that focus on Latinidad. While the theatrical styles of representation may include, for example, realism, expressionism, or absurdism, concerns staged may include the construction of identity in terms of race, class, gender, and sexuality; bilingualism and code-switching; the experiences of the exile, the immigrant, and the refugee; sense of place and displacement; the idea of home; the marketing of the Latinx identity; power, borders, community, gangs, and the family. In short, we will study the staging of public and private concerns and the politics of representation itself. Prerequisites: None.