Oscar H. Casares
Associate Professor — M.F.A., University of Iowa
- E-mail: email@example.com
- Phone: (512) 471-8715
- Office: PAR 108
- Campus Mail Code: B5000
MAS 374 • Writing Border Narratives
TTH 1100am-1230pm PAR 210
(also listed as
CRW 325 )
CRW 325 l Writing Border Narratives
Instructor: Casares, O
Unique #: 33880
Semester: Spring 2015
Cross-lists: MAS 374
Computer Instruction: No
Flags: Cultural Diversity; Writing
Only one of the following may be counted: CRW 325 (Topic: Writing Border Narratives); E 325 (Topic: Writing Border Narratives); MAS 374 (Topic: Writing Border Narratives).
Prerequisites: One of the following: C L 315, E 603B, 316L (or 316K), 316M (or 316K), 316N (or 316K), 316P (or 316K), or T C 603B.
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.
Possible texts might include: Borderlands/La Frontera, Gloria Anzaldúa; The Late Great Mexican Border, Bobby Byrd, ed.; Puro Border, Bobby Byrd, ed.; With a Pistol in His Hand, Américo Paredes; Labyrinth of Solitude, Ocatvio Paz; Days of Obligation: An Argument with My Mexican Father, Richard Rodriguez.
Requirements & Grading: We will read many essays in an effort to learn about the form, as well as how to look more critically at your own work. Expect pop quizzes on the reading material. Students will 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%
MAS 374 • Writing Border Narratives-W
TTH 200pm-330pm PAR 310
(also listed as
E 325 )
E 325: WRITING BORDER NARRATIVES—W (34710)
MAS 374: (35945)
|Spring 2010||Oscar Casares (Pronounced: Cása—rez)|
|TTh 2:00—3:15 p.m.||Email: firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Classroom: Parlin 310||Phone: 471-8715|
|Office: Parlin 222|
|Office Hours: T 3:30—4:30 p.m.,|
|Th 12:30—1:30 p.m.|
|(and by appointment)|
This Creative Writing course uses the personal essay a way to examine our relationship with the U.S.-Mexico Border. Joined for nearly 2,000 miles, from San Diego, California to Brownsville, Texas and from Tijuana, Baja California to Matamoros, Tamaulipas, these borderlands offer us an opportunity to explore their points of difference and find greater relevance where they converge. 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.
We will spend the first part of the course reading about the border, as well as 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 perspectives 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 maintains some personal connection to the essay. Each student will write two original essays, one of which will be discussed in a workshop setting and the other which will be discussed in a conference with the instructor.
We will use three basic steps to develop your creative writing abilities. The first step is for you to learn how to read like a writer, being aware not only of the content, but also the mechanics behind an essay—scene development, narrative structure, sensory details, etc. Learning to identify these elements will help you understand how to make use of them in your own work. You will have at least one assigned reading, either an essay or historical document, for most of our class meetings. For the early part of the course, you will also read various sections of the textbook dealing with the craft of non-fiction. From time to time you can expect a short pop quiz over these reading assignments.
The second step is for you to learn how to critique essays within a workshop setting. By critically examining someone else’s writing you will discover the strengths and weaknesses in your own work. The idea is to develop your editing skills so that you can then further develop your own writing, in and out of this class.
The final step is for you to actually write essays that apply the skills we have discussed. After each critique of your work, you should have several ideas on how to improve the original draft.
Since this course is part workshop, your participation in the class discussion is critical to your final grade.
Note: We will consider only creative non-fiction, which means you will be asked to use more of the literary techniques discussed in the text and during class, as opposed to the more traditional approach followed in a typical research paper.
Imaginative Writing: The Elements of Craft, 3rd Edition, Janet Burroway, Publisher—Pearson Longman
Puro Border: Dispatches, Snapshots & Graffiti from La Frontera, Ed. Crosthwaite and Byrd, Publisher—Cinco Puntos Press
Course Packet: Writing Border Narratives
Available at Jenn’s Copy & Binding
2200 Guadalupe St. (lower level)
Recommended: Spanish/English dictionary
The Elements of Style (4th Edition), Strunk & White
Students with Disabilities:
Students with disabilities may request appropriate academic accommodations from the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement, Services for Students with Disabilities, 471-6259.
For more information, please download the full syllabus.