La otra América: Chicana/o Culture in the United States

Project: Practical Project

Project participants


Poised between two worlds, the issues of identity, assimilation, cultural heritage, and survival figure prominently in contemporary Mexican-American culture and literature. Due to the awareness of displacement and the necessity to belong, Chicana/o culture and literature is marked by both the search for a new identity and the desire to preserve an ancient heritage. This probing leads to such diverse places as the indigenous Indian myths, the rural peasant "campesino" tradition, and the "barrio," the urban experience.

By reading and analyzing poems, vignettes, and short stories by such contemporary "classics" as Rudolfo Anaya, Sandra Cisneros, Denise Chavez, and Arturo Islas, we will also focus on the specific concerns of Chicana authors who represent a minority within a ("machismo") minority. Thus, besides examining general characteristics of Chicana/o life and literature, the seminar will take a good look at the differences between male and female experiences in the "borderland."