Work Phone: 575-538-6512 Cell Phone: 575-590-3016 Office Location

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Western New Mexico University

Syllabus for SPANISH 450/550 – CRN #

Chicano Literature

Spring 2013


Instructor: Patricia Morales Cano
Work Phone: 575-538-6512
Cell Phone: 575-590-3016
Office Location: Bowden Hall, 228
Office Hours: Mondays 2:00 to 4:00, Wednesdays 10:00 -12:00
Virtual Office Hours: To be announced
WNMU Email:
Fax: 575-538-6535

Course Catalog Description:

A survey of the literature written in Spanish by the Mexican American (Chicano), from 1848 to the present.

Instructional Objectives:

Upon completion of this course, students will be able to articulate what Chicano literature is and isn’t, the politics of writing in Spanish versus writing in English, what the classic works in Spanish are and who their authors are/were. They will also be able to analyze classic works critically within the time period and historical background of the United States in which they were produced.

Required Text(s):

Cisneros, Sandra (1994) La Casa en Mango Street. New York: Vintage.

Méndez, Miguel (1991). Peregrinos de Aztlán. Tucson, Arizona: Bilingual Press.

Ponce, Mary Helen (1993). Calle Hoyt: Recuerdos de una juventud chicana.

Albuquerque, NM: University of New Mexico Press.

Rivera, Tomás ( 1995). …y no se lo tragó la tierra/…And the Earth Did Not Devour

Houston, Texas: Arte Público Press.

Valdez, Luis (1994). Luis Valdez – Early Works: Actos, Bernabé and

Pensamiento Serpentino
. Houston, Texas: Arte Público Press.

Grading Scale:
A = 90 - 100

B = 80 - 89

C = 70 - 79

D = 60 - 69

F = 59 or less
Course requirements (what your final grade will be based on):

  • Participation in 11 online discussions – 25%

  • 14 Written Assignments – 50%

  1. Study questions on selected works

  2. Short written papers

  3. Journal article reviews

  4. Other written assignments

  • Final Critical Paper – 25%

Each graduate student is expected to lead one discussion and to follow the graduate guidelines for the required papers

Course Outline and Tentative Calendar:




Week 1

Introduction to Course and Requirements

Definition of Chicano Literature

View instructor video regarding Chicano literature.

Participate in Discussions #1 and #2

Week 2

Chicano poetry in Spanish vs. Chicano poetry written in English or a combination of the two languages.

Read instructor’s notes on Chicano poetry, the two posted articles on Chicano poetry and the poetry samples uploaded by the instructor.

Assignment #1: Choose 5 poems (graduate students – 8) from the selection to analyze according to the guidelines provided.

Week 3

The Chicano short story written in Spanish

Assignment #2: Search for a Chicano short story written in Spanish and write about it according to the guidelines

Week 4

Guidelines for Analyzing a Text

View instructor video - ‘How to Analyze a Text’.

Participate in Discussion #3

Week 5

Tomás Rivera and …y no se lo tragó la tierra

Read instructor’s notes on Tomás Rivera and read text.

Assignment #3: Submit answers to study questions.

Participate in Discussion #4.

Week 6

Critical articles on the Rivera text

Assignments # 4 – 8: Select 5 (graduate students = 7) of the 15 posted critical articles on which to write reviews.

Assignment #5: Submit a short paper in which you give your opinion about whether this text is a novel or simply a collection of short stories and defend your position.

Participate in Discussion #5.

Week 7

Sandra Cisneros and La Casa en Mango Street

Read instructor’s notes and other posted materials on Sandra Cisneros and read text.

Assignment #9: Submit answers to study questions.

Week 8

Critical articles on the Cisneros text

Assignments #10-12: Write reviews on 3 (graduate students – 5) critical articles on the Cisneros text.

Participate in Discussion #6.

Deadline for approval of final paper topic.

Week 9

Mary Helen Ponce and Calle Hoyt

Read instructor’s notes, other posted materials on Mary Helen Ponce and the text.

Participate in Discussion #7

Week 10

La casa and Mango Street and Calle Hoyt

Assignment #13: Submit a comparison and contrast paper on the two novels. (See posted guidelines for graduate and undergraduate students.)

Week 11

Miguel Méndez and Peregrinos de Aztlán

Read instructor’s notes about the author, Miguel Méndez and other materials that are posted.

Read text and submit answers to study questions.

Participate in Discussion #8.

Week 12

Criticism on Peregrinos de Aztlán

Search for a journal article on the text.

Assignment #14: Submit review of journal article.

Participate in Discussion #9.

Week 13

Luis Valdez – Early Works: Actos, Bernabé and Pensamiento Serpentino.

Read instructor’s notes on Chicano theater.

Read 5 plays by Teatro Campesino.

Participate in Discussion #10

Week 14

Final paper

No assignment

Week 15

Final paper

Assignment #15: Submit a final paper in which you analyze a novel of your choice, approved by the instructor. Graduate students must analyze two novels by the same author and follow different guidelines.

Week 16

Return of final papers

Participate in Discussion #11.

Course Expectations and WNMU Policies for Students

Attendance in an online class is evaluated by your attendance to the material. You will get out of the course what you put into the course. You will need to be a self-starter and control your own calendar in order to meet the deadlines for the course.

CANVAS Down Time and Inclement Weather:
Due to the possibility of CANVAS down time or lack of connection due to inclement weather, it is important that you not wait until the last minute to finish assignments, postings, or assessments.

Posting Assignments and Discussions:
The student is responsible for posting all discussions on the Discussion Board and all assignments to the Assignments posting area. If you are having difficulty with this, it is your responsibility to contact the instructor so that s/he can get you the assistance you need to learn how to do this.

Assignment Due Dates:
If you will be late turning in an assignment, contact the instructor well before the deadline to discuss it.

Informed Consent:
Some individuals may choose to disclose personal information during class. Therefore, it is important that all classmates agree not to discuss or write about what others have discussed in class.

Students are learning professional skills and are expected to engage in class discussions, complete reading assignments, and meet deadlines as befits professional behavior.

Scholarly Writing:
Use clear college level writing with correct spelling and grammar for all assignments. If you need help with your writing, consult with instructor, because the staff of the WNMU Online Writing Center will not be able to help you with your writing in Spanish. You are expected to use formal Spanish in all your writing and it is permissible to use spell check and other resources. Correct accentuation is very important, as words are misspelled if they are not accented correctly.

Communications policy statement regarding official e-mail:
WNMUs policy requires that all official communication with the University, other than your in-class Blackboard communications, be sent via Mustang Express. Emails sent to you by various University departments related to your registration, financial account balance, changes in schedule, etc., will be sent to your email address. It is very important that you access your Mustang Express email periodically to check for correspondence from the University. If you receive most of your email at a different address, you can forward your messages from Mustang Express to your personal address. Example - Martin Classmember was assigned a WNMU email address of but Martin would rather receive his emails at his home address of Martin can follow the transfer directions provided at the following link: to have his WNMU email forwarded to another email address.

WNMU policy on email passwords:
WNMU requires that passwords for access to all of protected software, programs, and applications be robust, including complexity in the number of characters required, the combination of characters required, and the frequency in which passwords are required to be changed. Minimum complexity includes:

  • Passwords shall contain at least six (6) characters

  • Passwords shall contain at least one capital (upper case) letter, and at least one numeral.

  • Passwords shall be changed at least every 90 days

Academic Integrity:
Each student shall observe standards of honesty and integrity in academic work as defined in the WNMU catalog. Violations of academic integrity include any behavior that misrepresents or falsifies a student’s knowledge, skills or ability with the goal of unjustified or illegitimate evaluation or gain.

Generally violations of academic integrity include cheating and plagiarism. Refer to the WNMU catalog for definitions. The instructor maintains a 0 tolerance policy toward plagiarism and cheating and will drop you from the course for any infraction. Therefore, do your own work and cite your sources correctly!

Integrated Use of Technology:
You will be using Blackboard to take all quizzes and exams and to post all assignments. You will need to learn how to attach documents if you don’t already know how to do this.
Disability Services at Western New Mexico University:

Services for students with disabilities are provided through the Academic Support Center’s Disability Services Office. Some examples of the assistance provided are: audio materials for the blind or dyslexic, note takers, readers, campus guides, audio recorders, and undergraduate academic tutors. In order to qualify for these services, documentation must be provided by qualified professionals on an annual basis. Disability Services forms are available in the Academic Support Center. The Disability Services Office, in conjunction with the Academic Support Center, serves as Western New Mexico University's liaison for students with disabilities.  The Academic Support Center’s Disability Services Office can be contacted by phone at 575-538-6400 or email Rebecca Matter at

Need Help?

  • Post a question to the Discussion Board. There is no such thing as a dumb question.

  • Send a question as a Blackboard email to your instructor.

  • If the Blackboard system goes down or you have other technical questions, contact the WNMU Help Desk at or (575) 574-4357.

  • Select Online Student Resources from the right had side of the Blackboard log in page or at this link:

Course Access:
Access to online course materials will be available to students only until the end date listed in the WNMU class schedule.

The schedule and procedures in this course are subject to change in the event of extenuating circumstances.


The materials found in this course are only for the use of students enrolled in this course for purposes associated with this course and may not be retained by students in any electronic form or further disseminated or distributed to anyone not enrolled in this course.


In order to promote a positive, professional atmosphere among students, faculty and staff, the following Code of Civility has been developed:

Respect: Treat all students, faculty, staff and property with respect and in a courteous and professional manner. This includes all communications, whether verbal or written. Let your actions reflect pride in yourself, your university, and your profession.

Kindness: A kind word and gentle voice go a long way. Refrain from using profanity, insulting slang remarks, or making disparaging comments. Consider another person’s feelings. Be nice.

Truth: Exhibit honesty and integrity in your dealings with fellow students, faculty and staff members. Don’t lie, don’t cheat, and don’t steal.

Responsibility: Take responsibility for your actions. This includes gracefully accepting the consequences of your behavior.

Cooperation: Exhibit a cooperative manner when dealing with students, faculty and staff so we may all work towards our common goals and mission.

Acceptance: Accept differences in others, as they accept differences in you. This includes diversity in opinions, beliefs and ideas and everything else that makes us unique individuals.

Professionalism: Always conduct yourself in a manner that will bring pride to your profession, to Western New Mexico University, and, most importantly, to yourself.

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