spring 2007 | english 493 | professor william nericcio

The text you turn in will be 5 to 8 pages long, typed, double-spaced, with one inch margins in a standard, readable font of no smaller than 12 points. No cover page or folder is necessary--merely append your name to the top of the first page, write your pointed, clever title and begin. Your essay should use MLA or University of Chicago citation formatting. In forging a response to the following challenges, you should locate and make use of at least 2 pieces of supporting secondary research materials: interviews, scholarly essays and books, annotated bibliographies etc. The work is due Wednesday, April 18 under my door Arts and Letters 273--no LATE PAPERS will be accepted.

1. You're the Professor
Find and xerox two essays of literary criticism, cultural criticism and/or film criticism which appeal to you intellectually from the following sources: Salmagundi, Race and Class, boundaries 2, diacritics, Critical Inquiry, PMLA, Modern Language Notes or representations. Write a brief essay on sexuality, the obscene machine literature, film, and the psyche. (nota bene: if you find a cooler or more appropriate academic journal, do NOT hesitate to run it by me for a greenlight!)

2. Mannequins
What do Eduardo Galeano, Flor Garduño and Frida Kahlo teach us about the concept of the "ethnic mannequin"? Use close readings and secondary research to support your critical speculation.

3. Memory Toxins
Nostalgia can be beautiful. Nostalgia can be pathological.  Explore the workings of nostalgia in the work of Humberto Eco, Frida Kahlo, and Eduardo Galeano

4. The {B}order of Things
Contrast the metaphorical representation of the Border to be found in Orson Welles's Touch of Evil with the metaphorical one at work in the photography of Flor Garduño.

5. Parody
Write a chapter that is missing from my Tex[t]-Mex book--the aim here is not to totally mimic the method and the madness of your professor; the goal is to expand the range of the book with your own findings on works we have read/experienced this term.

6. Photography and Photography

Using Rivera-Garza's novel as a theoretical ally along with resources to be found in the work of John Berger (Ways of Seeing) and Susan Sontag (On Photography), do a close analysis of Flor Garduño's work NOT mentioned in our class along with the work of an American or Mexican photographer of your own choosing.

7. Sex[t]-Mex
One does not have to scratch the surface much to see Charles Vidor, Orson Welles, and Cristina Rivera-Garza as adept archeologists of the female psyche in Gilda, Touch of Evil, and No One Will See Me Cry.  Explore this idea in a cogent essay--looking up the psychoanalytic works of Julia Kristeva, Luce Irigaray, Donna Harraway, and/or Laura Mulvey will not hurt your essay!

8. You're the Scholar
Devise your own thesis. Type out your proposal and bring it to me IN CLASS, no later, no earlier,  Wednesday, April 4, 2007--the likely result will be comment and (most likely) instant approval.

9. Taboos in Word and Image
Contrast the nature of human taboos explored in Spike Lee's Jungle Fever, Peter Greenaway's The Pillow Book, and Frida Kahlo's Diary.

10. John Steinbeck's "Mexicans" versus Spike Lee's "African-Americans"
Contrast novelist Steinbeck and director Lee's approach to the construction of ethnicity.

11. Richard Fleischer and Spike Lee are different kind of artists when it comes to the representation of the black male body.  Contrast Fleischer and Lee using elements of the arguments on race and ethnicity found in Nericcio's Tex[t]-Mex volume--in particular, the chapters on Rita Hayworth, Orson Welles, and the introduction.  Two other outside research resources are  still required for this prompt.
Good Luck and have fun--remember, it is not about trying to guess what teacher likes, it’s about having the courage to believe in the very real intellectual growth that occurs as a direct result of your reading, research and experience with your colleagues and myself here in our seminar. Your essay is nothing more and nothing less than a guided tour of your adventurous discoveries.