Eastern Washington University

CHST 196

Chicano Literature

Fall 2011



Instructor:      Ms. Calah Kulm                                Time:  10:13-11:03

Office:                        7:45-8:25, 3:15-3:45                           Room: 306

Phone:            (509) 349-2581 x1336

Email:             ckulm@warden.wednet.edu


Course Description: Thisis a college-level course offered through Eastern Washington University. If youare taking the course for college-credit, your grade cannot fall below a70%.  Please take advantage of this FREEopportunity to earn college credit. The course will introduce students to abroad spectrum of Chicano Literature and its history through in-depth readingsand cinematic works. Through our readings, the class will not only read andanalyze the various genres of Chicano/a literature but we will explore thehistorical contexts that have produced racial, cultural, and class inequalitiesfor Chicano/as in the United States. The course will hone the student’s abilityto analyze literature through both written and oral expression. Students willbe expected to read, discuss and apply theoretical techniques on specificChicano literary works. This survey offers an overview of the history ofChicano/a literature, introducing the major trends and placing them into anhistorical framework stretching from the nineteenth century to today. Emphasiswill be on similarities and differences in the experiences in the United Statesamong different Latino/a groups.

CourseMechanics: The course is lecturedriven.  Therefore it is essential andrequired that students attend class regularly. The lectures are designed tocomplement the readings.  Usually we willgo over the readings, but on occasion I will lecture on them or from thechapter that is assigned.  I encourageclass participation in the forms of comments, questions, contention, and evendebate.  My ultimate goal besidesteaching Chicana/o literature is to allow students to argue logically and backup their assertions with evidence.  Thecourse will utilize lecture, class discussion, and readings.


Course Objectives: Atthe end of this course, the students will have 1) an extensive knowledge ofChicano/a literature, writers, and genres, 2) a thorough knowledge of thehistorical and social conditions of Chicano/as in the USA, and c) a broadknowledge of themes, tropes and topics in Chicano/a literature.


Required Texts: 1)Excerpts from Bordering Fires: TheVintage Book of Contemporary Mexican and Chicano/a Literature, 2) The House on Mango Street by SandraCisneros, 3) Bless me Ultima byRudolfo Anaya, 4) Growing up Chicanoby Tiffany Ana Lopez, 5) Rain of Goldby Victor E. Villasenor


Films: 1) Walkouts. (2006) Directed by Edward James Olmos. 2) The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez. (1982) Directed by Robert M. Young.3) I Am Joaquin.   (1969) by Luis Valdez.


Discussion:Although this is primarily a lecture driven course I encourage all students todiscuss the material openly in class, ask for clarification, even debateissues. Since this represents 20 percent of your grade it is important toengage the material in class. It is important that each student come preparedfor discussion by doing the readings.


Reading Logs: Please bring a spiral notebookthat is ONLY used for this course. You will often be required to respond to areading we completed in class or that you completed at home. I do not want asummary of what was read but rather your reaction to what you read. Did youenjoy it? Can you relate to it? Did you learn something from it? This is simplyan opportunity for you to reflect on the readings without the restrictions ofworrying about grammar, spelling, etc. Content is all that matters in readinglogs. Readinglogs are to be written neatly (1 page) or typed (1/2 page single spaced).


Short Essays: there will be four reading critiques.  In conjunction with a lecture, discussion,and/or video each student is required to write a 1,000 word analysis.  The critique needs to be based on thereadings and discussions in class.  Youneed to include explicit references to the material assigned.  But don’t just give a re-hash of what is inthe readings.  You need to drawconclusions about the subject and to make generalizations based on yourunderstanding of the readings and topics.


Eachcritique must be typed, double-spaced, stapled, 12 pitch, and with one inchmargins. No cover sheet. See assignment calendarfor due dates.


Final: Youwill write a final research paper of 1,500 words (5 pages, typed, doublespaced, 12-inch Times New Roman font and 1-inch margins). This does not includeany attachments or works cited page (MLA style). A proposal will be submittedto me at the end of week 5. You will then meet with me individually during week6 to discuss your proposal and to map out a plan for your paper. The topic foryour final paper is as follows: Chooseone historical event (The Walkout, Treaty of Hidalgo, court cases, etc) and one piece ofliterature we studied in class. How did both influenced change—positive ornegative—to the Chicano movement? In other words, what did they mean to themovement? You may choose one major historical event or piece or choose numerousevents or pieces.


Academic Integrity andProfessionalism

Academic dishonesty of any type will not be tolerated.This includes, but is not limited to, plagiarism (copying others’ work as yourown—in part or in total—without the appropriate citations). In addition,classroom professionalism is to be maintained at all times. This means thatwhen the teacher is speaking or when students are presenting their work, theclassroom should be silent, except for invited questions. As in any academicenvironment, questions are welcome, but informal chatter or communication amongclass members becomes a distraction for all those in attendance and, as such,will not be tolerated.


Accommodations: Reasonable accommodations are available forany student with a documented disability. Please notify me during the first week of this course, of anyaccommodations needed.  Late notificationmay cause requested accommodations to be unavailable.  All disability accommodations should beapproved through the Disability Support Services (DSS) in Tawanka 124.  For more information, contact DSS by phone at359-6871 or send an e-mail to dss@mail.ewu.edu. Furthermore, to receive accommodations, students must have documentationof their disability on file with the DSS. The Student must complete and sign an Accommodation Form with a DSSstaff member and take it to each instructor for signature.  If a student request an accommodation anddoes not present a signed and completed form, they will be directed to the DSS.



Grading Policies:

Class Discussions: 20%

Reading Logs: 20%

Short Essays: 4 x 10 = 40%

Final Paper: 20%


EWU Grade Splits:

Grade              MinimumPercent

4.0                                     92%

3.7                    88%

3.5                  85%

3.0                                     80%

2.5                                     75%

2.0                                     70%

1.5                                     65%

1.0                                     60%

0.7                    55%

0.0                   0




1.      Respect:I expect everybody to show respect. If you respect me, I will respect you andboth of our lives will be a lot easier. In addition, respect one another.

2.      Supplies:Come to class prepared: pen/pencil, paper, and books. If you forget one ofthese, I will allow you to go to your locker but you will be considered tardy.Also, please bring a spiral notebook to keep in the classroom for journalwriting.

3.      Restroom:Please ask politely, sign out, take the pass, and come back quickly.

4.      Food/Drink:If your drink is clear, it is allowed. No food is allowed unless the class as awhole proves themselves.

5.      PurpleSlips: If you are off-task, being rude, etc, I will give you a purple slip(detention slip). You serve your detention in here with me unless it becomes acontinuous problem. If you miss detention, it becomes doubled. If you miss thatdetention, it becomes a referral.

6.      Cellphones/ipods: I don’t want to see your phone. I will give you one warningand then I’ll take it. I don’t mind ipods if we’re doing independent work, youask, and it is not distracting.

7.     Reading: Please complete the requiredreading as it is assigned. This is a college-level class and as such, higherexpectations are placed upon you.

8.      ClassDiscussant Presentations: The definition of a discussant is “to speak withothers about a subject.” Every student is expected and required to engage inclass discussion during every class.

9.      ShortEssays: This course is designed to develop skills in writing andcomprehension as well as competency in the subject of Chicano literature. Assuch, your grade is determined by four responses to the readings and topics asoutlined in the syllabus. Every short answer must be roughly 1000 words to thequestion(s) posed. Each of the 4 essays is worth 10 percent of your overallgrade. Each essay must be a minimum 1000 words, 12-inch Times New Roman font,and double-spaced with 1-inch margins.

10.  FinalResearch Paper: You will write a research paper. I will provide moreinformation later in the semester. A proposal will be submitted in month 2 ofclass and each student will meet with me individually to discuss his or herproposal and to map out a plan for the final paper.





Course Schedule (Subject to Revision)



Week 1 (August 28-31):Historical Contexts

Introduction to the course: Goals, requirements, andexpectations

What is a Chicano/a?

Historical Introduction


Weeks 2 (September3-7): Historical Contexts

1848: The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo

Civil Rights Era

Walkouts. (2006)


Week 3-4(September 10-21): Oral Tradition and Poetry

“Yo Soy Joaquin / I Am Joaquin” by Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzales

I Am Joaquin. (1969)

Rain of Gold

  • Reading Log 1 due end of week 3: I am Joaquin
  • Essay 1 due end of week 4: Do you think the students were just in organizing a walkout? Explain why or why not.




Weeks 5-8(September 24-October 19): Immigrating and Adapting

Rain of Gold

El corridor de Gregorian Cortez / The Ballad ofGregorio Cortez (1982)

  • Reading Log 2 due end of week 5: Rain of Gold
  • Final paper proposal due end of week 5
  • Meet with Mrs. Kulm to discuss proposal week 6
  • Reading log 3 due end of week 7: Rain of Gold


Week 9 (October22-26): Chicanos and Education and Language

“How to Tame a Wild Tongue”

Excerpts from Mango Streetincluding “No Speak English”

  • Essay 2 due end of week 9: Discuss the inequalities that exist within the novel.
  • Reading log 4 due end of week 9: “How to Tame a Wild Tongue” and “No Speak English”


Week 10 (October29-November 2): Chicana Feminist Thought

“Never Marry a Mexican”

“Daddy With the Chesterfields in a Rolled Up Sleeve”

Excerpts from Mango Street

  • Reading log 5 due end of week 10: “Never Marry a Mexican”
  • Reading log 6 due end of week 10: “Daddy With the Chesterfields in a Rolled Up Sleeve”


Weeks 11-13(November 5-November 21): Dual-identities

Growing up Chicanaby Tiffany Ana Lopez

  • Reading log 7 due end of week 12: Any of the stories we read.
  • Essay 3 due end of week 13 (Wednesday before we leave for Thanksgiving break): Who are you? What is your identity? Is identity something you were born with or something you created for yourself? Support your position with reasoning and examples taken from one of the stories we read in Growing Up Chicana.
  •  Reading log 8 due end of week 13: Any of the stories we read.


Weeks 14-16(November 26-December 14): Borders, Border Culture, and Mestiza Consciousness

Bless me Ultima

  • Reading log 9 due end of week 14: Bless Me, Ultima
  • Reading log 10 due end of week 15: Bless Me, Ultima
  • Essay 4 due end of week 16: Choose one of the topics pertaining to Bless Me, Ultima (found at end of syllabus).


Weeks 17-18(December 17-23, January 7-18):

Final Paper





Bless Me, Ultima Essay Prompts


Your fourth essay is based on Rodolfo Anaya’s classic novel Bless Me, Ultima. Please choose one of the following essaytopics for your paper.  You may alsocombine 2-3 questions below, but do so in one flowing interconnected essay.


1.How does Bless Me, Ultima complicate—and force a reappraisalof--stereotypical assumptions about American identity? Feel free to makereference to your own identity and to contemporary politics of identity in youressay. Feel free, to, to allude to current events in the US as a way todeepen your discussion.


2.As the protagonist of this bildungsroman, Antonio negotiates manytensions and dualities as he tries to define his own place in the world. Selectat least one of these dualities and analyze the ways in which he deals withit—or them. Feel free to expand your analysis into a discussion of relevanttensions and dualities in contemporary American life.


3. The llano features prominently in Bless Me, Ultima: Analyze how thesouthwestern setting of the novel serves not only as a backdrop to the plot butalso as a central theme in the novel. Feel free to extrapolate from youranalysis a larger philosophical exploration of the significance of geography toidentity.


4. War and its aftermath provide a fraught backdrop to Bless Me, Ultima.Analyze the ways that war functions within the plot, characters, and themes ofthe novel. Feel free to extend your analysis of the novel into an explorationof the role of war in contemporary life in the United States.


5. Analyze the role of school—education—and language in Antonio’s coming of age.Feel free to extend your analysis in to an exploration of the role of education—andlanguage—in the coming of age of contemporary American children.


6. Analyze the role of storytelling in the novel. How do stories contribute to thestyle and structure of the novel?


7. Analyze the role of dreams in the novel, especially as they function to furtherthe plot and to elucidate Antonio’s character and role in the novel.