English 363: Experimental Hispanic Literatures

Queens College, City University of New York

English 363: Experimental Hispanic Literatures header image


Queens College, City University of New York

English 363-4318, Fall 2011

Mon/Weds 8:00AM-9:15AM,

Razran 304

Instructor: Steven Alvarez

E-mail: salvarez@gc.cuny.edu

Office: Klapper 330

Phone: 646-549-6516

Office Hours: Weds12:30-2:00PM



This course will briefly survey the experimental narrative borders of transnational “Hispanic” literatures. Six novels and one collection of short stories will be examined for their flouting of formal narrative conventions in conjunction with aesthetic traditions local to their contexts in colonial and postcolonial empires. A tradition of
experimental “Hispanic” narration will be stretched geographically and politically across the “New World” and the “Old World” of the Hispanic diaspora. Additional borders will be explored in some detail in this course from critical articles analyzing
the broader aspects of colonial and postcolonial histories, sociolinguistics, migration, narratology, and poetics

Students can expect to maintain a qwriting.qc.cuny.edu blog for the duration of the
semester and to compose a final fifteen-page project at its end. There will also be two oral presentations.

Course Learning Goals

Students will become familiar with narratological theory and methodology.

Students will practice compositional techniques applying narratological analyses to


—Students will gain greater understanding of researching scholarly articles and incorporating research into critical analyses.

—Students will demonstrate greater command of employing correct MLA standards in compositions.



We’ll be seeing a lot of one another.  Therefore I hope we will come to respect one
another as members of a shared academic community.  In order to foster that sense of community, there are a few rules that I expect everyone to follow:

RESPECT: In this class we’ll encounter new ideas and different ways of thinking and reading texts, in addition to practicing new and demanding skills.  In order for us to be a successful community of scholars, we need to be respectful of each other’s learning.  It is imperative that we treat one another with courtesy.  Talking over your classmates or myself, sleeping, not having the necessary materials, or not having done the assignment, are all manifestations of disrespect and will be noted.  Turn off the ringer to your cellular phones before you enter the classroom. AND PLEASE NO TEXT MESSAGING. And please don’t make dramatic sighs, sigh.

Be aware that grades for participation are not only based on how much you talk in class but also how respectful you are to your classmates, to your work, and to me.

ATTENDANCE:  We meet at 8:00AM—not 8:11, and certainly not 8:20.  I DO NOT
tolerate tardiness, and I find it disrespectful.  If you have problems with parking, I suggest arriving at QC earlier or taking public transit. If you can’t make the time commitment to the class, please drop.

 Also please note that if you miss in-class writing that begin each class, you may not make them up for full credit when you post them on your blog. These points are also tabulated in the “participation” section of your grade. More than three missed classes will result in significant loss in your participation grade. The more classes you miss, the more your grade suffers.  More importantly, our discussions and our in-class writings are an integral part of the graded assignments.

It is your responsibility to miss no more than three or accept your grade.  You are responsible for all the work we do in class and out of class even if you are not in attendance. Find a classmate from whom you can get any missed information. My email and telephone number are at the top of the syllabus. Feel free to contact me.

It is necessary for you to complete each assignment before the next is begun.  Late or skipped assignments will seriously hinder the process.  I RESERVE THE RIGHT NOT TO ACCEPT LATE BLOG RESPONSES.  That’s in bold and caps so you get my emphasis, dig?  With each class the assignment is late, I dock one-half (1/2) a point from the grade it receives.  If you feel that you will not be able to make a deadline, or if you must miss class on the day the written response is due, you must contact me in advance so we can work something out.  Also note, I will not accept any emailed essays. Everything you submit for this class must be on your blog.

PLAGIARISM: Plagiarism is the most disrespectful act of an academic citizen and carries the largest reprimand.  The English Department policy on plagiarism is as follows: “A student who has plagiarized will automatically fail the paper and possibly fail the class.  The student will also be listed on a departmental record that will be maintained for the duration of the student’s enrollment at the College and reported to the Dean of Students who may decide to take further action. A student who plagiarizes the second time will automatically fail the course.  Plagiarists may be subject to further penalties to be determined by the Faculty-Student Disciplinary
Committee or the Dean of Students, including notation on the student’s
permanent record, suspension, or dismissal from the college.” See also http://qcpages.qc.cuny.edu/library/research/instruction/tutorial/plagiarism.htm

ASSISTANCE: You are always welcome to come see me during office hours for help either with your writing or to discuss the readings.  The QC Writing Center (Kiely
229) and the Reading Lab (Kiely 131) conduct free classes, individual tutoring
sessions, and drop-in advising.  Tutors there are trained to help you revise your writing at various stages. If you believe you need additional help with your writing, or if I ask you to set up a regular meeting with a tutor, you should make an appointment at least one week prior to when an assignment is due. You can also get online help by visiting their website at http://writingatqueens.qwriting.qc.cuny.edu/the-writing-center/.
I offer one point of extra credit for each documented tutoring session you’ve attended. See me for details if interested.

 SPECIAL ASSISTANCE: If you have a learning, sensory, or physical reason for special accommodation in this class, contact the Office of Special Services in 171 Kiely Hall at 718-997-5870 and please inform me.


All assignments will be given a point grade and not a letter grade.

In-class writing (posted on blog)                                                       40 POINTS

(40 x 1 points


Final Essay (posted as blog page)                                                        25

            (12 pages, 5 sources)


Writing Reponses (posted as blog pages)                                        25

            (5 x
5 points each)


Oral Report Participation
                                                                                                                          5 POINTS


Class Participation


The in-class writing must be posted as blog entries in order to be given full credit. Your longer written responses will be at least two-and-one-half (2.5) pages in length, double-spaced, 12-point font.  In these you will practice PIE paragraphs and juxtapose critical readings with the analyses of texts.  I will deduct points for lack of a works cited page and for citing improperly and for not employing correct MLA standards

 Required Texts

There will be some small texts posted as PDFs on Blackboard, so be sure your account is up and running.  The texts for purchase are listed below:

de Cervantes Saavedra, Miguel. The Ingenious Hidalgo Don Quixote de la
Trans.John Rutherford. Columbus, MT: Penguin, 2003. Print.
ISBN-10: 0142437239
ISBN-13: 978-0142437230

Foster, Seshu. Atomik Aztex. San Francisco, CA: City Lights, 2005. Print.

ISBN-10: 0872864405

ISBN-13: 978-0872864405


García Márquez, Gabriel. Collected Stories. Trans. Gregory Rabassa and J.S. Bernstein. New York: Harper, 1999. Print.



Jahn, Manfred. “Narratology: A Guide to the Theory of Narrative.” Poems, Plays, and Prose: A Guide to the Theory of Literary Genres. Cologne:
U ofCologne Press, 2002. <http://www.uni-koeln.de/~ame02/pppn.htm>

Plascencia, Salvador. The People of Paper. Orlando, FL: Mariner, 2006. Print.



Sarduy, Severo. Cobra and Maitreya. Normal, IL: Dalkey, 1995. Print.




Vega Yunqué, Edgardo.   The Lamentable Journey of Omaha Bigelow into the Impenetrable Loisaida Jungle. Overlook, 2004.
ISBN-10: 0060846801
ISBN-13: 978-0060846800


Your Qwriting Blog, and the Class Blog http://363hispanlit.qwriting.qc.cuny.edu/

You are also required to maintain a blog on http://qwriting.qc.cuny.edu

This is a portfolio-based class, which means that at the end of the semester you will be
required to electronically post an electronic portfolio, which will include your “final” essay of the semester, and copies of your most formal drafts of your previous informal writings.

The sequence of assignments is laid out in the schedule of assignments below, but
please note that your blog will be where all your writing this semester will take place.  Your blogs will be where you experiment with applications of the theories we examine, and also to build material to use toward your final essay.

The short response writings due at the beginning of each week should focus on narratological analyses of the texts read in class. Your final essay, however, must incorporate outside critical sources retrieved from the QC library databases.

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