Immigration to the U.S.
The following two seminars, taught by Spanish and Italian Studies faculty, look at the immigrant experiences of Mexican and Italian Americans. By bringing these two seminars together as a learning community, students and faculty will have the opportunity to explore similarities and differences across immigrant experiences, both historically and into the present. These perspectives will certainly contribute perspectives on immigration--a continuing and politically divisive issue in the U.S.
Your Learning Community Coordinator will be Piper Moore, a sophomore. The Learning Community Coordinator assists the LC faculty in the planning and implementation of out-of-classroom LC experiences, and works with FY students directly to further explore the LC theme.
Between two worlds: Mexican Americans in United States
Although immigrants have entered the United States from virtually every nation in the world, Mexico has long been identified in the public imagination as one of the primary sources of the economic, social, and political problems associated with mass migration. Mexican immigration has a long and complex history with many dimensions that requires a thoughtful examination to completely understand it. The basic premise of this course is that Americans of Mexican descendancy are products of both Mexican and United States cultures. Unlike other ethnic groups, Mexican Americans, mainly because of uninterrupted Mexican immigration and their close proximity to Mexico, have retained strong historical, economic, political, linguistic, and cultural ties to their ancestral homeland. This course will focus on how Mexican Americans have developed a unique character which allows them to acclimate themselves to United States society while, at the same time, enables them to understand the Mexican ethos.This course explores Chicana/o’s experiences and voices from the nineteenth century to the present through films, music, literary texts, historical documents and critical articles. We examine how Chicanas/os become aware of their realities as well as how they construct and negotiate their identity in the U.S. as a process of building their own voices. In particular, we will closely look at related issues such as migration,bilingualism, multi-national citizenship, race, ethnicity, gender and border culture.
Professor: Hector Reyes Zaga, Spanish
Time: 11:30 MWF
Getting the Boot: The Italian Experience in America
Between 1880 and 1920, approximately 4.5 million Italians migrated to the United States in search of a better future. These immigrants descended from an extremely diverse nation without a common language or culture. This course intends to explore the multifaceted experience of Italian immigration to the United States by studying the history, culture, ethnicity and the construction of an Italian identity. What is the Italian-American identity and how is it situated in American culture and society? How does Italian immigration differ from other types of immigration to this country and how have these immigrant experiences converged? In this course, topics such as racism, stereotypes, xenophobia, myth-making, sexuality, cultural values, and language will be explored through works of literature such as Pietro Di Donato’s Christ in Concrete and Mario Puzo’s The Fortunate Pilgrim, films such as The Godfather and Big Night, media such as The Sopranos and Jersey Shore and music from artists such as Nicola Paone and Lou Monte. Students will also read texts and watch films dealing with other immigrant experiences, specifically those concerning Mexican immigration. The course will end on the subject of immigration in today’s Italy with the goal of exploring how a country known for immigration has reacted recently to the growing influx of legal and illegal immigrants to its own country.
Professor: James McMenamin, French/Italian
Time: 11:30 MWF