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Martin Kevorkian, Chair CAL 226, Mailcode B5000, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-4991

Spring 2009

E 325 • Writing Border Narratives

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
34295 MWF
12:00 PM-1:00 PM
PAR 304
Casares, O

Course Description

The U.S.-Mexico border extends nearly 2,000 miles, from San Diego, California to Brownsville, Texas and from Tijuana, Baja California to Matamoros, Tamaulipas. Since the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe in 1848, the international boundary has meant different things to different people, as it continues to do so today. This course uses the personal essay as a way of examining our relationships with U.S.-Mexico border.

We will spend the first part of the course reading and learning about the personal essay in its various forms. For the remainder of the course students will write their own personal essays having to do with their experiences or reflections on the border. These narratives can be drawn directly from experiences of life on or near the border, or they can be drawn indirectly via the experiences of a family member or friend so long as the student/writer is also included in the essay.

Grading Policy

We will read many essays in an effort to learn the form, as well as how to look more critically at your own work. Expect pop quizzes on the reading material. Students write two personal essays (each 6-8 pages) and revise one of these at the end of the semester.

Attendance is required.

Classroom participation/Quizzes: 30% Two Personal Essays/Final Revision: 70%


(Possible texts might include)
The Late Great Mexican Border, Bobby Byrd, ed.
Puro Border, Bobby Byrd, ed.
The Devil's Highway, Luis Alberto Urrea
Across the Wire: Life and Hard Times on the Mexican Border, Luis Alberto Urrea
Borderlands/La Frontera, Gloria AnzaldĂșa
Crossing Over, Ruben Martinez
Days of Obligation: An Argument with My Mexican Father, Richard Rodriguez
The Elements of Style, Strunk & White--optional


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