Spring 2023 MALS Courses

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Introduction to Mexican American and Latina/o Studies

In 2006, the massive nation-wide May Day protests and marches, were not only emblematic of immigrantworker resistance, but a turning point in evolving Latina/o/x pan-ethnoracial identities. Through the rallying cry of “Day Without an Immigrant,” across cities from Los Angeles, Houston, Chicago to Atlanta, diverse peoples of the United States became exposed to the fundamental ways Latin@/x populations are embedded within the very fabric of the nation through their endless labor, contributions, innovations, and community-building. In this introductory course, students study the field of Mexican American and Latina/o/x Studies as an interdisciplinary and intersectional arena of academic inquiry, which centers on challenging and dismantling the inherent inequalities and multiple oppressions foundational to the making of the United States through the eyes of the Mexican American, Chican@/x, Latin@/x experience. We survey the historical, political, socioeconomic, and cultural fabric, which shapes this heterogenous populace and examine the formation of Latin@/xs as an ethnoracial group(s) in the United States. We explore the multifaceted histories of colonialism in the Americas and U.S. imperialism through an investigation of transnational, transborder contexts of corporate, military, and political interventions that have (re)defined national boundaries and human migrations in the Americas. Last, students use an intersectional approach to unravel how race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, class, language, migration, indigeneity, and citizenship are integral to the multiplicity identities forming Latinidad.

TTH 12:30-2pm #40165 WAG 214 Antonio Vasquez MAS 301

MAS 301

Introduction to Mexican American and Latina/o Studies

What happens when home is more than one place? Or when home is a place you can not return to? Maybe “home” is actually a small corner of a room where an altar has been made out of a combination of small objects and seashells, or it’s the barrio your parents moved to and where you grew up, or maybe it’s a song. This introductory course in Mexican-American and Latina/o/x Studies examines visual culture from the 1950s on, with particular emphasis on the built environment, cities, and Latina/o/x visual culture. How can our study of place and images of home guide us as we actively question dominant or mainstream representations of North American citizenship? Students are expected to engage with and develop an understanding of how historical and systemic inequality is translated into the built environment we live in order to re-examine and reimagine our relationship to the places we call home.

CD MWF 12-1pm #40160 RLP 0.118 Alhelí Harvey

MAS 319

Black/Latinx Intersections

MWF 1-2pm #40190 BIO 301 Danielle Clealand

Scholars, journalists, and pundits have argued that the new status of Latinxs as the “majority minority” population in the United States would diminish the political and economic power of the Black community and exacerbate simmering tensions between Black and Latinx groups. This course challenges accounts of Black and Latinx conflict by: 1) challenging the notion that Blackness and Latinidad are mutually exclusive and 2) focusing on what interactions between Black American and Latinx groups illuminate about race and power relations in the United States. This course examines Black and Latinx Intersections in various ways. We will look at the complex relationship between Black American and Latinx communities and the structural forces and contexts that shape their interactions. We will look at Black identity within the Latinx population and interrogate race and Latinidad. Finally, we will read and discuss material that give attention to coalitions of Black American and Latinx groups which challenge the existing power structure and create a more just society.


MAS 319

The New Latinas/os/xs

The U.S. Latina/o/x population is diverse and heterogenous. While over 60% of Latinas/os/xs trace their ancestry to Mexico, a sizable share of Latinxs come from many other countries and contexts in Latin America. The population of Latinxs from these other regions has been on the rise in recent years. Now, Salvadorans make-up the third largest Latinx origin group, displacing the Cuban population, which for a very long time was the third largest community of Latinxs. Since 2010, Latinxs hailing from Venezuela, the Dominican Republic and Guatemala saw the fastest population growth. What are the experiences of these “The New Latinas/os/xs” in the United States? How does race, gender, sexuality, class, indigeneity, language, migration, and geography influence their lives, identities, and sociopolitical incorporation? This class explores the trajectories of various communities many have called “The New Latinas/os/xs.” In doing so, the course surveys materials from various disciplines (ethnic studies, sociology, political science, women and gender studies, Latinx literature and popular culture) to arrive at an understanding of the realities of “New Latina/o/x” communities.

TTH 9:30-11am #40195 GDC 6.202 Angela Ocampo

MAS 319

Latinx Histories

MWF 9-10am #40200 GEA 114 Enrique Davila

Today there are 62 million people, 19% of the US population, who might describe themselves as Hispanic, Latino, and Latinx, alongside other labels denoting country-of-origin, or region. Terms like these have defined radical movements, divided political coalitions, and confused everyday people just trying to fill out bureaucratic forms. Yet these labels also have a history that can inform us about the past in which they emerged and the people who used them. In this course, covering a period from roughly 1848 (the end of the Mexican American War) to the present, students will study events like the Spanish American War and the Cuban Revolution; will learn about concepts like mestizaje and latinidad; and will analyze the movies and music that formed cultural waves like the “Latin explosion” of the late 1990s. Our goal will be to place these names and labels in their historical context so that we might understand how they were used in the past, think about their use in the present, and imagine how they might be used in the future.


MAS 320I

Mexican American Studies at UT

WAG 308

Antonio Vasquez

Intended for Mexican American and Latina/o Studies majors and minors in junior-and-senior-standing, this advanced undergraduate course complements MAS 301 (“Introduction to Mexican American and Latina/o Studies”) by engaging in more in-depth research and analysis regarding the origins and development of Mexican American Studies at the national, regional, and local level. Students will first critically examine the intellectual formation of Mexican American Studies in concert with the historical emergence of the Chicano Movement. This inquiry will provide a foundation to then assess past and present challenges and strengths of Mexican American Studies as an academic discipline. To help realize the latter objective, students will work collaboratively to conduct distinct research projects aimed at preserving and recognizing the role of Mexican American Studies at the University of Texas at Austin in historical and contemporary contexts. These assignments will be integrated throughout the semester in conjunction with collaborative critical discussion over select foundational readings in Mexican American Studies. Through this course, students will deepen their understanding of Mexican American and Latina/o Studies as an academic discipline and strengthen their individual research skills in the collection and examination of primary sources.


MAS 337F

Latina Feminism and Health

This course examines the intersection between Latinx feminism and health justice activism. The course begins with an overview of Latinx feminisms, emphasizing how questions of wellbeing, care and healing have been central to the development of Latinx feminist theory and activism, and continues with an analysis of Latinx expressive culture (film, music, visual art and literature) that contain feminist engagements with the idea of health. Topics addressed throughout the semester are likely to include many of the following: mental health, diabetes, sexuality, intimate partner violence, body love and fat activism, reproductive justice, environmental justice, safety at work, and transgender health.

TTH 9:30-11am #40225 PAR 304 Julie Minich

MAS 337J

Latinx Sexualities

MWF 10-11am #40230 GEA 114 Lilia Rosas

The publishing of Compañeras: Latina Lesbians in 1987 represents a pathbreaking disruption, which works to humanize, demystify, and complicate the narratives of Latina sexualities at the height of the AIDS pandemic. Told from multiple perspectives by intermingling the voices of scholars, writers, poets, and truth-tellers, this text is still a testament to the stories we must continue to research and analyze to underscore the nuances of Latin@/x racialized sexual formations. In this course, students will chart and examine Latinx Sexualities from a historical perspective to comprehend the social, cultural, political, and economic factors, which have shaped these experiences. We also will challenge the simplistic and monolithic notions of sexualities that have plagued dominant discourses about Latinx sexuality. Finally, we will evaluate and reflect upon how Latin@/x communities (across sexualities, queerness, and heteronormativity) have defined themselves, resisted repression(s), and participated in their own emancipation of identities, expressions, and desires from their perspectives as indigenous, Afrolatin@/x, and (me)Xican@/x peoples.



Julia Alvarez/Sandra Cisneros

The careers of two of the most important Latina writers of the last 30 years, Sandra Cisneros and Julia Alvarez, cover multiple genres: short fiction, novels, poetry, children’s and young adult literature, and non-fiction. Moreover, the construction of ethnic and gendered identity within their works creates a Latino/a aesthetics, especially in considering the merging of author and speaker, fiction and history, and, stylistically, poetic and prose voices. Through our readings and discussions, we will also compare their different ethnic experiences in the United States as Mexican American and Caribbean/Dominican American writers. In addition to writing analytical essays, students will also construct and present a bibliography of secondary resources and literary criticism on the author of his/her choice.

MWF 2-3pm #40235 MEZ 2.124 Patricia García

MAS 361

Mexican American Cultural Studies Seminar

Lilia Rosas

The Latinx arts and culture exhibits through the Google platform broaden and visibilize the profoundness and complexity of our expressions, creations, and visions. Yet, it is vital that (me)Xicana/o/x/Latina/o/x students, scholars, thinkers, and activists interrogate the cultural formations, methods, and theorizations within our respective and diverse communities. Through this seminar for advanced undergraduates, we will focus on refining critical analysis for graduate study. We will cover a range of materials on Mexican American and Latinx Cultural Studies with a concentration on the socio/politics of cultural production(s) in the late 20th and 21st centuries. Moreover, students will complete original research projects that include a range of approaches from ethnography, digital humanities, archival work and much more.

MWF 2:30-4pm #40245 GEA 127


Mexican American Policy Studies Seminar

TTH 12:30-2pm

This course is an advanced public policy and politics seminar that builds upon the tools and frameworks developed in the introductory policy seminar. In this course, students will investigate the policy priorities of the Mexican American and the broader Latina/o/x community in the areas of immigration, labor, education, health and reproductive justice, democracy and voting rights, criminal justice, among others. We will cover advanced concepts in public policy and politics and explore policies that have had a widespread impact on the Latinx community. The course also investigates how it is that Latinxs have shaped social policy in the U.S. A large component of this course is student research on a policy area of their interest. To this aim, students will learn social science tools and skills to evaluate policies and policy implications impacting the Latinx community.

#40250 BUR 214

MAS 364

History of US-Mexico Borderland

This course is about the history of the United States-Mexico border, though I have taken an approach to this topic that you will likely find unfamiliar. Today we think about the border as a political space with enormous implications for North American geopolitics, licit and illicit market economies, and humanitarian issues. From this perspective, when we talk about “the border,” we are often referring to economic or immigration policies. This course will shed light on these questions, but the focus will be much more on place than policy. The region through which the contemporary border passes has been inhabited for, perhaps, as long as 21,000 years, though the current international divide is only 174 years old. So, the course is organized accordingly with most of the readings focused on the ancient, colonial, and nineteenth-century history of what is today the border region.


MAS 374

La Causa, Farmworkers Movement

At its core, “La Causa, The Farmworker Movement” seeks to critically examine the significance of farm labor organizing and solidarity in the United States, in historical and contemporary contexts. This examination will begin with a review of the historical formation of commercial agriculture focused on citrus and winter vegetables, the concomitant need and recruitment of Mexican workers, and mechanisms of labor control in the beginning of the twentieth century. Second, students will examine the rise of organizational struggles waged by agricultural workers across the continental United States through the first half of the twentieth century. Third, students will explore the multiple contributions and legacy of the farm worker movement during the period of the Chicana and Chicano Movement.

Particular attention will be given to the role of the United Farm Workers of America. Fourth, students will learn about and engage with current struggles for farm worker justice in the United States. This is an upper division course offered through the Department of Mexican American and Latina/o Studies.

TTH 3:30-5pm #40275 RLP 0.106


Politics of Latino Identity

In this class, we will focus on the politics of Latino identity and understanding who counts as Latino and what it means politically to belong to this pan-ethnic group. We will explore the political mechanisms of how Latinos became a group in the United States and investigate the political similarities and differences of group members that still exist today. Should we expect Latinos to maintain this unique identity for generations to come, and what can Latino identity tell us about political attitudes and participation?

By the end of this course, you should be able to understand the differences and similarities between national origin groups and explain how these differences affect political participation. You will better understand what it means to belong to a pan-ethnic group and be able to discuss the benefits and costs of pan-ethnicity. In addition to knowing current trends in political participation, we will learn about the history behind these trends in order to contextualize and fully understand why these patterns exist.

MWF 9-10am #40280 RLP 1.108 Angie Gutierrez

MAS 374

US Mexico Desert History


114 C. J. Alvarez

This is an environmental history course focused on one of the least-understood kinds of ecological regions: deserts. The United States is in large part a desert country though we rarely think about it that way. The border is often thought of as a gigantic desert though parts of it are not. Our aims in this class are to be more precise about what we mean by the word desert and to explore the historical significance of drylands in the context of the American West and Mexican America.

#40290 GEA

MAS 375 Internship

T 2-4pm #40305 Lilia RosasGDC 2.502

This course is an opportunity for students to gain practical and hands-on experience in the workplace through the lens of Mexican American and Latina/o/x Studies. You will participate in a nonpartisan, direct-service capacity internship where you will work with a Mexican American, Chicana/o/x, Latina/o/x, Indigenous-centered community, civic, or government organization/program/entity that is frontline-led and addresses questions of economic, political, social, and/or cultural inequalities, justice, and/or empowerment.


MAS 378

Capstone Seminar

TTH 11-12:30pm #40315 Rachel Gonzalez-MartinGDC 2.502

The course investigates food politics connecting US Latinx/e histories of migration, colonization, and multiculturalism through the lens of food. We explore ingredients, cooking methods, naming of dishes, as well as how we eat to better understand how our meals tell stories of ourselves, our families, and our communities. We will look at such themes as food and race, black culinary legacies in the Americas, food deserts and citizenship, "homemade" nostalgia, culinary tourism, as well as gender ideologies and kitchen spaces. The course will focus on interdisciplinary methods in the study of American foodways with an emphasis on Latinx folkloristics and ethnographic observation methods.


MAS 392

Latinx Ethnography

TH 2-5pm #40330 PAR 302 Rachel Gonzalez-Martin

This course is a specialized qualitative methods course in Latinx Cultural Studies. We will investigate the arc of ethnographic writings constituted before and after the inception of in name “Latinx/e” & “Chicanx/e” studies in the US. Our work will aim to interrogate the practices, politics and ethics of constituting communities vis-a-vis Western textual authority. Students will apply learned methods to create their own, micro ethnographic narratives throughout the semester, which will culminate in a more extensive ethnographic narrative that draws on independent fieldwork experiences. We will be reading from areas of Latinx/e Studies, Women of Color Feminist Studies, Latin American Studies, Black Studies, Native American and Indigenous Studies, Anthropology, and Media Studies.


MAS 392

Latinx Health Disparities

This course will provide a broad overview of racial and ethnic health disparities in the United States with a specific focus on Latinx populations. Student in the course will explore key social determinants of health, including: education, housing, occupation, neighborhood environments, and social relationships. Students will be introduced to the concept of health equity and examine the multiple pathways through which social determinants influence health across the life course. An overarching theme of the course will be how social factors that adversely affect health are inequitably distributed, contributing to marked health disparities. Students will gain a better understanding of research on health disparities and interventions to promote health equity through a combination of readings, lectures, reflection papers, in-class exercises, and research assignments.

W 2-5pm #40335 RLP 0.124 Deborah

MAS 395C

Theories of Mexican American Studies

T 2-5pm #40345 GWB 1.138

Michael Hames García

This course examines some major theoretical foundations in Latina/e/o/x studies and traces their development since the mid-twentieth century. We will begin with influential texts by José Martí, Aimé Césaire, Frantz Fanon, Albert Memmi, C.L.R. James, Américo Paredes, Raymond Williams, and Stuart Hall. From there we will delve into texts by scholars who have defined the present course of the field, including Suzanne Oboler, Arlene Dávila, Frances Aparicio, Rosa Linda Fregoso, José Esteban Muñoz, Ginetta E. B. Candelario, Angie Chabram-Dernersesian, and María Lugones. Since this is a theory course, the approach will be transdisciplinary, ranging from psychiatry to philosophy and political science to performance studies. No previous exposure to theory is necessary, but an open mind and willing attitude are recommended.