Literature of American Cultures: Repression and Resistance
General Catalog Course Title:
Literature of American Cultures: Repression and Resistance
Terms Offered:
Fall 2012
Summer 2012

In this course we will analyze representations of repression and resistance in nine novels, three each from the following three cultural groups: Chicanos/Chicanas, African Americans, and Euro-Americans. We will examine various forms of repression--social, physical, and psychological--represented in these texts, and we will study the various ways these works resist repression. (Please be forewarned: some of these works include graphic and disturbing representations of violence.) Several questions inform the course theme: What are the causes of repression? What solutions, if any, do these works offer in response to the forms of repression they represent? What is the relation, if any, between the negative effects of repression and the formation of a positive conception of cultural identity? From a literary perspective: What are the formal aspects of a literature of repression and resistance? The comparative approach in this course will allow us to analyze the similarities and differences in the literatures of these three cultural groups. It will also provide us with a critical appreciation of the social significance and aesthetic quality of the literature. In addition to the novels on the required reading list, we may also read short stories by Helena MarĂ­a Viramontes, James Baldwin, and Raymond Carver. Assignments will include two papers and a mid-term.

For more detailed information about classes, please visit the UC Berkeley Online Schedule of Classes.