Chicana/o Literature Syllabus

I confess. I love writing a syllabus. There’s just so much possibility in one. Before all the stress of the semester are the good, positive thought vibes being sent out into the universe for good students who care about what they are studying and if they aren’t interested now, will be after sitting though some of my lectures.

I thought about this one for a long time. It’s my area, so teach by theme? chronologically? what’s good? I settled on chronologically backwards because I want the class to tackle The Squatter and the Don, and as it’s a large Victorian style novel, I didn’t want to hit them with it right off the bat. It seemed unconventional when I first landed upon the idea, but now I think it’s probably something others would probably consider. It’s really a trick for my students. I want them to be interested in the material that’s more accessible and “fun” before we strike out on why it’s that way.

Other texts on the list:

  • Black Widow’s Wardrobe
  • Mother Tongue
  • Pocho
  • The Adventures of Don Chipote

There are also poems, editorials, a short play, testimonios, films, and short stories. I’m really excited to teach this class. I need 13 students for it to make…



  1. “I confess. I love writing a syllabus. There’s just so much possibility in one.”

    I agree! When I pondered going back to graduate school and eventually teaching (in Chicana/o Studies) I became obsessed for a while with creating potential “syllabi”. Especially in this field, there is so much potential out there, undiscovered books and so many great new writers.

    I was born and raised in San Diego, CA where María Amparo Ruiz de Burton lived. According to the Journal of San Diego History, The Squatter and the Don “was probably the first novel written by a women in San Diego; it was most certainly the first novel written in English by a Mexican American. For this reason it is a singular document of San Diego’s and California’s literary history. ”

    Good luck! Sounds like a great class.


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