Department of English

Julie A. Minich

Assistant ProfessorPh.D., Stanford University

Julie A. Minich



Dr. Minich holds a PhD in Spanish and Portuguese from Stanford University and a BA in Comparative Literature from Smith College. She is the author of Accessible Citizenships: Disability, Nation, and the Cultural Politics of Greater Mexico (Temple University Press, 2014). Drawing from Chicana/o studies and disability studies, this book works against the common assumption that disability serves primarily as a metaphor for social decay or political crisis, engaging with literary and filmic texts from both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border in which disability functions to extend knowledge of what it means to belong to a political community. Additionally, Dr. Minich’s articles have appeared in journals such as Comparative Literature, the Arizona Journal of Hispanic Cultural Studies, Modern Fiction Studies, MELUS, and the Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies

Dr. Minich is currently working on a new book project, tentatively titled Enforceable Care: Health, Justice, and Latina/o Expressive Culture. In this book, Minich explores how Latina/o cultural production depicts public conflict around legislation governing health care and disability accommodations. While mainstream discourses about the distribution of health care often implicitly construct some as deserving of health (and others as undeserving), the texts examined in this study critique health ideologies that present health crises as failures of individual responsibility and create a political environment in which it is seen as a duty of citizenship to maintain oneself in a state of maximum able-bodiedness. Enforceable Care, then, uncovers the social context in which individuals make health decisions to show how health and disease are determined by factors that cannot entirely be reduced to questions of individual choice.


E 376M • Deviant Bodies:disabl/Race/Sex

34640 • Fall 2015
Meets MWF 1000am-1100am PAR 105
(also listed as MAS 374, WGS 335)

FLAGS:   CD  |  Wr

E 376M  l  Deviant Bodies: Disability, Race, Sexuality

Instructor:  Minich, J

Unique #:  34640

Semester:  Fall 2015

Cross-lists:  MAS 374, WGS 335

Flags:  Cultural Diversity in the U.S.; Writing

Restrictions:  n/a

Computer Instruction:  No

Prerequisite: Nine semester hours of coursework in English or rhetoric and writing.

Description: This course will examine the intersection of disability with race and sexuality in contemporary literature by U.S. writers of color (Latina/o, Asian American, African American, and Native American). We will define disability broadly, to include neurodivergence and psychiatric impairments, illness, and other forms of embodiment (like obesity) that exist outside the social norms that define people as capable, beautiful, healthy, or fit. We will investigate how and why writers of color in the contemporary United States have so often engaged with themes of disability and sexuality as they examine the terms of social and political inclusion in the contemporary United States. The overarching question that will guide our discussions throughout the semester is as follows: If the body politic of the United States was originally predicated on a white, upper-class, male, able-bodied, heterosexual norm, how does the representation of more diverse bodies in recent U.S. literature transform our understanding of political belonging?

Possible Readings: Toni Morrison, Beloved; Edwidge Danticat, Breath, Eyes, Memory; Octavia Butler, Parable of the Sower, Héctor Tobar, The Tattooed Soldier; Salvador Plascencia, The People of Paper; Ana Castillo, Peel My Love Like an Onion; Monica Sone, Nisei Daughter; Sherman Alexie, selected short stories.

Requirements & Grading: Short Essays (3 essays, 15% each): 45%; Final Paper (rewrite and expansion of one of the three short essays): 25%; Participation: 15%; In-class writing and reading quizzes: 15%.

E 397N • Latina/O Bodies/Us Natl Imgnry

36135 • Fall 2014
Meets TH 600pm-900pm CAL 221
(also listed as MAS 392, WGS 393)

Latina/o Bodies and the U.S. National Imaginary

Latina/o bodies are ubiquitous in contemporary U.S. public discourse, where their spectacular visibility is often touted as evidence of a “post-race” society. Closer analysis of these images, however, reveals how a range of national anxieties have come to coalesce around Latina/o bodies, from fears about the U.S. economy and cultural identity that attach to laboring (often undocumented) Latina/o immigrant bodies to concerns about the destabilization of race, gender, and sexual norms adhering to Latina/o entertainers and sports figures. This course will explore how the hypervisibility of Latina/o bodies has led not only to the targeting of those bodies for discursive and physical violence but also to the proliferation of resistant texts and images created by Latinas/os. Drawing from a wide range of genres (novels, memoirs, short stories, plays, poems, and film), this course is designed to help graduate students develop expertise in U.S. Latina/o cultural studies (emphasizing both established and emerging Latina/o writers and filmmakers), as well as familiarity with theories of embodiment currently emerging from feminist, queer, and disability studies.

Although the focus of the course is relatively specialized, the range of primary source texts will give students a solid (survey-like) grounding in Latina/o cultural studies, while the secondary source texts will enable students to explore scholarly interests in feminist, queer, and disability theory.

Evaluation will be based on the following: Preparation and participation (15%), in-class presentation (20%), final paper prospectus (15%), and final paper (50%).

Primary Source Texts May Include the Following:

Richard Rodriguez, Days of Obligation (1993, memoir)

Justin Torres, We the Animals (2012, novel)

Gun Hill Road (film, 2011)

Manuel Muñoz, What You See in the Dark (2012, novel)

Héctor Tobar, The Barbarian Nurseries (2012, novel)

Machete and/or Machete Kills (films, 2010 and 2013)

Pedro Pietri, “Puerto Rican Obituary” (1973) and selected poems

Junot Díaz, selected short stories from Drown (1996) and This Is How You Lose Her (2012)

Cherríe Moraga, Heroes and Saints (1994, play)

Luis Valdez, The Shrunken Head of Pancho Villa (1963, play)

Sandra Cisneros, selected poems from Loose Woman (1995)

Achy Obejas, We came all the way from Cuba so you could dress like this? (short stories, 1994)

Peloteros (film, 2012)

Sugar (film, 2009)

Secondary Source Texts May Include Selections from the Following:

Alicia Schmidt Camacho, Migrant Imaginaries (2008)

Robert McRuer and Anna Mollow, eds., Sex and Disability (2012)

Michael Hames-García and Ernesto Martínez, eds., Gay Latino Studies: A Critical Reader (2011)

Judith Jack Halberstam, In a Queer Time and Place (2005)

Mel Y Chen, Animacies (2012)

Tobin Siebers, Disability Aesthetics (2010)

Judith Butler, Precarious Life (2006) and/or Undoing Gender (2004)

Juana María Rodríguez, Queer Latinidad (2003)

Curriculum Vitae

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