US-Mexico Border Fictions: Writing La Frontera, Tearing Down the Wall (ILAC 348)
A border is a force of containment that inspires dreams of being overcome, crossed, and cursed; motivates bodies to climb over walls; and threatens physical harm. This graduate seminar places into comparative dialogue a variety of perspectives from Chicana/o and Mexican/Latin American literary studies. Our seminar will examine fiction and cultural productions that range widely, from celebrated Mexican and Chicano/a authors such as Carlos Fuentes (La frontera de cristal), Yuri Herrera (Señales que precederan al fin del mundo), Willivaldo Delgaldillo (La Virgen del Barrio Árabe), Américo Paredes (George Washington Gómez: A Mexico-Texan Novel), Gloria Anzaldúa (Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza), and Sandra Cisneros (Carmelo: Puro Cuento), among others, to musicians whose contributions to border thinking and culture have not yet been fully appreciated such as Herb Albert, Ely Guerra, Los Tigres del Norte, and Café Tacvba. Last but not least, we will screen and analyze Orson Welles' iconic border films Touch of Evil and Rodrigo Dorfman's Los Sueños de Angélica. Proposing a diverse and geographically expansive view of the US-Mexico border literary and cultural studies, this seminar links the work of these authors and musicians to struggles for land and border-crossing rights, anti-imperialist forms of trans-nationalism, and to the decolonial turn in border thinking or pensamineto fronterizo. It forces us to take into account the ways in which shifts in the nature of global relations affect literary production and negative aesthetics especially in our age of (late) post-industrial capitalism.