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C LIT 496 A: Special Studies In Comparative Literature

Literature and Film of the US - Mexican Border

Meeting Time: 
MW 1:30pm - 3:20pm
Location: 
MGH 242
SLN: 
11819
Instructor:
Photo of Cynthia Steele
Cynthia Steele

Syllabus Description:

C LIT 496A (SLN 11819) / JSIS 480A (SLN 21248)

RIDING LA BESTIA: LITERATURE AND FILM OF THE US-MEXICAN BORDER

Prof. Cynthia Steele

Winter 2015                                                               

5 credits                                                          

MW 1:10-3:20 pm

MGH 242

Prof. Cynthia Steele

Office: Padelford C-502

Hours: MW 3:30-4:30 and by appointment

cynthias@uw.edu

How is the U.S.-Mexico border region portrayed in recent documentary and feature films, fiction and poetry, and chronicles from Mexico and the US-Mexican border region? What human rights issues are raised by recent trends in migration from Mexico and Central America, including a rising number of unaccompanied minors? How is the sharp increase in drug-related violence, including the September massacre of 43 college students by a drug cartel working with a municipal government, affecting patterns of migration and relations between our countries? What effect is Obama’s new migration legislation likely to have? Students will write a short analytical essay, write two film reviews, take three quizzes, and keep a reading and viewing journal. All classwork will be in English.

Texts: Jorge Castañeda, Ex-Mex: From Migrants to Immigrants (The New Press, 2009); Alfredo Corchado, Midnight in Mexico: A Reporter’s Journey through a Country’s Descent into Darkness (Penguin Books, 2014); Juan Pablo Villalobos, Down the Rabbit Hole. Trans. Rosalind Harvey (FSG Originals, 2012); Oscar Martínez, The Beast: Riding the Rails and Dodging Narcos on the Migrant Trail (Verso, 2014); and Brandon D. Shuler, ed, New Border Voices (Texas A & M, 2014).

Essay Posted on Canvas:

Sharada Balachandran Orihuela and Andrew Carl Hageman, "The Virtual Realities of US/Mexico Border Ecologies in Maquilapolis and Sleep Dealer." Environmental Communication 5.2 (19 May 2011): 166-86.

Films:

To be Viewed on Instant Streaming:

1. El sicario, Room 164 (2010)

2. Which Way Home (2009)

Link to Instant Streaming:

 

 

To be Screened in Class:

3. La cosecha / The Harvest (2012)

4. A Better Life (2011)

5. Sin nombre (2009)

6. Traspatio / Backyard (2010)

7. A Day Without a Mexican (2004)

8. Sleep Dealer (2009)

Internet Resources:

Metacritic Film Reviews and Trailers:

http://www.metacritic.com

Internet Movie Data Base:

http://www.imdb.com/

UW Libraries Guide to Cinema Studies:

http://lgdata.s3-website-us-east-1.amazonaws.com.offcampus.lib.washington.edu/docs/703/504638/CinemaStudies.pd

Class Attendance:

On Mondays we will generally be watching a film in class and on Wednesdays we will discuss the film and related readings. If you need to miss class on a viewing day, all of the films for class are on two-hour reserve in the Suzzallo Media Center; please watch the film you missed there, before we discuss it in class.

Canvas Site:

https://canvas.uw.edu/courses/945541

Viewing and Reading Journal:

You should keep a journal of your reactions to and analysis of each of the films and reading assignments for the class, entering at least one page on each film or reading, for a total of at least 24 pages. Please see the required list of entries posted to the assignment page on Canvas. The journal should be uploaded to Canvas as a single Word file by 7 pm on Friday, March 13.

Quizzes:

There will be four pop quizzes on the films and readings; I will count the three top grades toward your final grade in the class. This means that you can miss one pop quiz without penalty; if you are sick and need to miss more than one, please consult with me.

Two Film Reviews:

Please write a review of two of the eight films that we will be viewing for class, either on Instant Streaming or in the classroom. Please see the guidelines for writing film reviews posted under this assignment on Canvas. Upload your reviews to the Canvas box by 7 pm on Thursday, February 12.

Analytical Essay:

Choosing one of the topics posted on our Catalyst web site, write an analytical essay with a catchy title, a pointed and succinct thesis statement, a strong introduction and conclusion, and a coherent and substantial development of ideas, citing the appropriate sources. Avoid description and plot summary; remember that your audience has seen the films in question. Write four to five typed, double spaced pages, plus a list of Works Consulted. (Please use a Works Consulted rather than a Works Cited, and call it that rather than Bibliography. Place the items in your Works Consulted in alphabetical order and don’t number them.) Please incorporate into your analysis references to the book and articles read in class. The essay should be uploaded as a Word file to Canvas by 7 pm on Friday, March 13.

https://canvas.uw.edu/courses/945541

Please follow the MLA guideline and use the parenthetical citation method:

http://www.erin.utoronto.ca/~dwhite/papers.htm

http://www.lib.washington.edu.offcampus.lib.washington.edu/help/guides/44MLA.pdf

http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/557/01/

It is usually much more effective to organize a comparative essay according to sub-themes of your thesis statement, rather than discussing the primary texts one by one. The emphasis in your essay, then, should be on analyzing the conclusions that you draw from the examples, rather than on simply citing examples.

Please write your name at the top of each page, number your pages, and indicate the number of the topic to which you are responding. Please title your Word document as follows:

yourlastname.essay (for instance, jones.essay)

Grading:

Reading and viewing journal   20%                                                                       

3 out of 4 quizes                      20%                                                                      

Essay                                       20%                                                                                                     

Two Film Reviews                    20%                                                                                       

Class Participation                  20%                                                                                        

Plagiarism:

Your assignments will be submitted to turnitin. You are responsible for understanding and observing the UW guidelines regarding plagiarism:

http://depts.washington.edu/grading/issue1/honesty.htm

It is not acceptable under any circumstances to use a for-pay paper web site as a source of information. Incidents of plagiarism may be reported to the Provost’s Committee on Academic Conduct.  A second incident could result in your suspension from the University. Please let me know if you have any questions about these guidelines or about UW policy on plagiarism.

Students with Disabilities:

To request accommodations due to a disability, please contact Disabled Student Services, 448 Schmitz, (206) 543-8924 ((V/TTY). If you have a letter from Disabled Student Services indicating that you have a disability that requires academic accommodations, please present the letter to me so we can discuss such accommodations.

CALENDAR

Mon

Tues

Wed

Thurs

Friday

WEEK

ONE

 

JAN

5

Introduction

 

6

 

7

Readings:

Castañeda Ch. 1-4, pp 1-68

Film:

La Cosecha

 

8

 

 

9

 

 

WEEK

TWO

12

FILM:

A Better Life

Reading:

Castañeda Ch. 5-6, pp 69-142

 

13

 

 

 

 

 

14

 

Reading:

Castañeda Ch. 7-8, pp 143-194

 

 

 

 

15

 

 

 

 

16

 

 

WEEK

THREE

19

MARTIN
LUTHER
KING DAY

HOLIDAY

 

 

 

20

 

 

 

 

 

21

Reading:

Corchado

Part I, pp 1-80

 

IS FILM:

El Sicario Room 164

 

 

22

 

 

 

 

23

 

Mon

Tues

Wed

Thurs

Friday

WEEK

FOUR

26

Reading:

Corchado Part II,  pp 83-182

27

 

 

 

 

 

 

28

Reading:

Corchado Part III,  pp 185-270

 

 

29

 

 

 

30

 

 

 

WEEK

FIVE

FEB

2

FILM:

Traspatio/ Backyard

Reading:

Villalobos pp 1-35

 

 

 

3

 

 

 

 

4

Reading:

Villalobos pp 36-70

 

 

 

 

5

 

 

 

6

 

 

 

WEEK

SIX

9

Reading:

Martínez Ch. 1-5, pp 1-108

FILM:

Sin nombre

 

10

 

 

 

11

Reading:

Martínez Ch. 6-10,  pp 109-203

 

 

 

12

7 pm:

Two film reviews due to Canvas

 

13

 

 

 

Mon

Tues

Wed

Thurs

Friday

WEEK

SEVEN

16

VETERANS’ DAY HOLIDAY

 

 

 

 

17

 

 

 

 

18

Reading:

Martínez Ch. 11-14,  pp  205-275

IS: Which Way Home

 

 

19

 

 

 

 

20

 

 

 

WEEK

EIGHT

23

Reading:

Shuler pp 1-48

Film: A Day Without a Mexican

 

24

 

 

 

 

 

25

Reading:

Shuler pp 49-98

 

26

 

 

 

27

 

 

WEEK NINE

MARCH

2

FILM:

Sleep Dealer

 

Reading:

Shuler pp 99-143

 

3

 

 

 

4

Reading:

Shuler pp 144-204

 

5

 

 

 

6

 

 

 

Mon

Tues

Wed

Thurs

Friday

WEEK TEN

9

Reading:

Shuler pp 205-275

 

10

 

 

11

Conclus

 

12

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

13

7 pm:

Journal & Essay 2 Due to Canvas

Additional Details:

Representations of the U.S.-Mexico border region, and of U.S.-Mexican-Central American relations, through analysis of eight key films, a political analysis of US-Mexican relations, a short novel about the drug cartels, an anthology of new short fiction and poetry from the Texas-U.S. border, and two chronicles, one about the sharp increase in violence in Mexico over the past decade, and the other about migration from Central America through Mexico to the United States. We will examine the evolving discourses of migration, globalization, and human rights, from a variety of national, cultural and political perspectives. Students will write two short analytical essays, take three quizzes, and keep a reading and film viewing journal, in addition to participating actively in class discussions.Texts: Jorge Castañeda, Ex-Mex: From Migrants to Immigrants (The New Press, 2009); Alfredo Corchado. Midnight in Mexico: A Reporter’s Journey through a Country’s Descent into Darkness (Penguin Books, 2014); Juan Pablo Villalobos. Down the Rabbit Hole. Trans. Rosalind Harvey (FSG Originals, 2012); Oscar Martínez, The Beast: Riding the Rails and Dodging Narcos on the Migrant Trail (Verso, 2014); and Brandon D. Shuler, ed, New Border Voices (Texas A & M, 2014). Films: The Other Side of Immigration (2010), A Better Life (2011), La cosecha / The Harvest (2012), Un día sin mexicanos / A Day Without a Mexican (2004), Traspatio (2010), El infierno (2012), Which Way Home (2011), and Sleep Dealer (2009).

Catalog Description: 
Offered occasionally by visitors or resident faculty. Content varies.
Department Requirements Met: 
Literature Elective
GE Requirements Met: 
Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts (VLPA)
Status: 
Active
Last updated: 
April 28, 2016 - 9:20am
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