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  • History 725: Latinos in the United States
    Salem State College
    Fall 2000

    Wednesday 4:30-6:50
    Professor Avi Chomsky
    Sullivan Building 109B

    History of the different Latino populations in the United States, beginning with the nineteenth century wars which brought large portions of Mexico under U.S. control, and tracing the major waves of migration from Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central America. Conditions in the sending countries, U.S. influence, and different immigrant groups’ experiences in the United States. A historical perspective on Latino life including identity, work, community, family, and political activism.

    Required books:
    NACLA (North American Congress on Latin America) Report on the Americas, XXVI:1 (July 1992) “
              Coming North: Latino and Caribbean Immigration”

    Arnoldo de León, They Called Them Greasers: Anglo Attitudes toward Mexicans in Texas, 1821-1900.
               Austin: University of Texas Press, 1983. ISBN 0-292-78054-0.
    Clara E. Rodríguez, Puerto Ricans: Born in the U.S.A.
               Boulder: Westview, 1991. ISBN 0-8133-1268-X
    Joy L. De Jesus, Growing Up Puerto Rican.
               NY: Avon Books, 1997. ISBN 0-380-73166-5
    Alejandro Portes and Alex Stepick, City on the Edge: The Transformation of Miami.
               Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993. ISBN 0-520-08217-6
    Cristina García, Dreaming in Cuban. NY: Knopf, 1992. ISBN 0-345-38143-2
    Patricia R. Pessar, A Visa for a Dream: Dominicans in the United States.
               Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 1995. ISBN 0-205-16675-X
    Julia Alvarez, How the García Girls Lost their Accents.
               Chapel Hill: Algonquin Books, 1991.
    Sarah J. Mahler, American Dreaming: Immigrant Life on the Margins.
               Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1995. ISBN 0-691-03782-5
    Carola and Marcelo Suárez-Orozco, Transformations: Migration, Family Life, and Achievement Motivation \
              Among Latino Adolescents.
    Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1995. ISBN 0-8047-2551-9.
    Michel S. Laguerre, Diasporic Citizenship: Haitian Americans in Transnational America.
               NY: St. Martin’s Press, 1998. ISBN 0-312-21138-4

    Course requirements: Attendance and participation, including signing up to lead two discussion sections (30%). Four critical essays (40%). Final paper (30%).

    Attendance and participation. Attendance and participation are crucial. Come to class prepared to discuss the day’s readings. In addition, each student will be responsible for planning two discussion sections.

    Critical essays. Due Sept 20, Oct. 4, Oct. 25, Nov. 8. Critical reflections on class readings and films. 2-3 pages each. The last three critical essays should use the novels (García Ramis, Alvarez, and García) as a source for discussing an issue of historical importance.

    Final paper. Your choice of topic. May be based on class readings and/or outside readings or field work. 8-10 pages. I highly recommend that you meet with me by mid-semester to discuss your topic, and turn in a rough draft on Nov. 3 (week 9).

    Sept 6 Introduction: Problems in Studying U.S. Latino History—Race, ethnicity, and identity

    Sept 13 Problems in Studying U.S. Latino History—Why migration?
    NACLA, “Why Migration?”; “What Rights for the Undocumented?” and “War in the Borderlands”

    Sept 20 “We didn’t cross the border, the border crossed us”: Mexicans and Mexican-Americans in the 19th century
    De Leon, They Called them Greasers
    First critical essay due.

    Sept 27 Mexicans in the U.S.: Miners, farmworkers, organizers in the 20th century
    NACLA, “New York in Mixteca; Mixteca in New York” and “The Latinization of U.S. Farm Labor”; handouts
    film: “Los Mineros”

    Oct 4 Mexicans in the U.S.: Current issues
    Suárez-Orozco, Transformations (skip chap. 3)
    film: “How we feel: Hispanic students speak out”
    Second critical essay due.

    Oct 11 Puerto Ricans: Migrants or immigrants?
    Rodríguez, Puerto Ricans, chaps. 1-2
    De Jesus, Ana Lydia Vega, “Liliane’s Sunday”; José Luis González, “There is a little colored boy”

    Oct 18 Puerto Ricans in the United States: Socioeconomic issues
    Rodríguez, chaps. 4-6
    De Jesus, Julio Marzán, “The Ingredient”; Jesús Colón, “Kipling and I”; Alba Ambert, “A Perfect Silence”

    Oct 25 Puerto Ricans in the United States: Identity and culture
    Rodríguez, chaps. 3, 6-7
    De Jesus, Abraham Rodríguez, “The Boy Without a Flag”; Piri Thomas, “Brothers Under the Skin”
    Third critical essay due.

    Nov 1 Cubans in the United States: Before 1959
    Portes and Stepick, Miami, chaps. 1, 2, 4
    Rough draft of final paper due.

    Nov 8 The Cuban Revolution and the Cuban exception
    film: “Miami/Havana”
    Portes and Stepick, chaps. 5, 6, García, Dreaming in Cuban
    Fourth critical essay due.

    Nov 15 The United States and the Dominican Republic—History
    Pessar, Visa for a Dream, chaps. 1-3; Alvarez, García Girls (begin)

    Nov 29 Dominicans in the United States
    Pessar, chaps. 4-5, Alvarez (finish)
    Fifth critical essay due.

    Dec 6 Central Americans: Issues in Migration
    Mahler, chaps. 1-7, 9

    Dec 13 Haitians in the United States: Contrast, or continuity?
    Final paper due.

    Dec 20 Conclusion

    Salem State College is committed to providing equal access to the educational experience for all students in compliance with Section 504 of The Rehabilitation Act and The Americans with Disabilities Act and to providing all reasonable academic accommodations, aids and adjustments. Any student who has a documented disability requiring an accommodation, aid or adjustment should speak with the instructor immediately. Students with Disabilities who have not previously done so should provide documentation to and schedule an appointment with the Office for Students with Disabilities and obtain appropriate services.

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