AMS 315 • Latino USA: Art, Culture, and Identity
9:30 AM-11:00 AM
This is an interdisciplinary class designed to explore the intersections of art and culture and Latino identity. The class will focus on the last half-century of cultural production, studying materials in the context of local, national, and international events. Using literature, visual culture, theater, film, and popular culture, we will investigate the multiple identities, ideologies, and cultural roots at work in uniting and dividing a diverse group of people. Who is Latino, Chicano, or Hispanic? How do family, gender, class, race, religion, language, and location impact the construction of that identity? What role do the cultural and political borders of Latin America play in shaping identities within the United States? And how have Latinos redefined the American experience? The Chicano civil rights movement of the 1960s serves as an excellent starting point for launching our discussion of a wide range of historical and contemporary issues relating to Latinos in the United States. The movement had profound repercussions in shaping, or re-shaping, Latino identity in the United States, but so have other key events, including the Cuban revolution, the 1973 coup in Chile, the Nuyorican Poetry Café, the barrio mural movement, and the passage of various U.S. immigration and trade laws. In this class, we will attempt to assess the impact of some of these key events and develop a more sophisticated understanding of what it means to be American and what it means to be of the Américas.
In terms of approach, we will turn to the personal accounts of various artists, writers, and performers in order to explore how their experiences relate to broader social concerns. As a result, this class relies on short readings assembled in a course reader