MONICA HUERTA

writer • professor • creatrix

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Sample Courses

Questions  


What aspects of your identity does your face carry or express, and how do we form attachments not only to our own face, but to other faces through photographs, paintings, avatars, even through emoji?


Objectives


  • Students will read and analyze aesthetic, scientific, philosophical approaches to human faces
  • Students will gain language and theoretical frames for the ethical hold of the human face
  • Students will explore the limits of “faciality”
  • Students will analyze how visual art thematizes and theorizes how we come to “read” faces 


Sample Readings


Ruth Ozeki, The Face: A Time Code; G. B. Duchenne, Mechanism of Facial Expressions; Gregory Flaxman & Elena Oxman, “Losing Face,” from Deleuze and the Schizoanalysis of Cinema; Debbie Challis, The Archaeology of Race: The Eugenic Ideas of Francis Galton and Flinders Petrie



Questions  


In the introduction to her 2019 memoir, Native Country of the Heart, playwright and poet Cherrie Moraga writes, “Perhaps my writing has never really been about me. Perhaps it was about she all along: she without letters; she fallen off the map of recorded histories; she that is my history and my future....” What would it mean if an autobiography were written for or by, as Moraga implies here, the future?


Objectives


  • Students will be able to place the category “Latinx” (and its precursors) in complicated relation to the peoples it seeks to describe
  • Students will explore how writers experiment with the project of narrating a life
  • Students will gain a new vocabulary and new frameworks for thinking about the personal in relation to structures (e.g. race, history, language, citizenship, gender) as mediated by different narrative forms


Sample Readings


Wendy C. Ortiz, Bruja; Myriam Gurba, Mean; Carmen Maria Machado, In the Dream House



Questions 


What makes books field-defining over time? What toolkits and methods carry over between sub-fields?


Objectives


  • Students will read prize-winning first books that are deeply interdisciplinary
  • Students will explore trajectories, shifts, and legibility across fields
  • Students will start to create their own interdisciplinary toolkit


Sample Readings


Alexandra T. Vazquez, Listening in Detail: Performances of Cuban Music; Simone Browne, Dark Matters: On the Surveillance of Blackness; Sarah Haley, No Mercy Here: Gender, Punishment, and the Making of Jim Crow Modernity



Questions 


What are the bounds (ethical, political, moral) of historical speculation that direct narratives deemed historical and narratives deemed fictional?


Objectives


  • Students will be introduced to three central skills: clear and detailed argumentation in writing, constructive critical conversation, and individual textual interpretation
  • Students will gain the building blocks of literary analysis, from close reading to developing a critical vocabulary of interpretive frameworks for thinking about the relation between history and fiction 


Sample Readings


Kyle Baker, Nat Turner; Ta-Nahesi Coates, “The Case for Reparations,” Namwali Serpell, The Old Drift; W.G. Sebald, The Emigrants



Questions  


What are some of the material and imaginary manifestations of the United States from global, national, and local perspectives? What ideas and debates over land, labor, and resources have shaped the nation and its limits?


Objectives


  • Students will gain familiarity with analyzing multiple media including texts, images, music, performance, and film
  • Students will read critical approaches from across disciplines including literature, history, political science, theater, law, cultural studies, art history, and the history of science
  • Students will be introduced to multi- and interdisciplinary modes of inquiry 


Sample Readings


Mark Twain, Huckleberry Finn; Sherwood Anderson; Winesburg, Ohio; Edward P. Jones, The Known World



Questions 


How can we understand the networks of migrations, geographies, and overlapping colonial histories belatedly termed Latinx? How do literary works grapple with these networks, resonances, and histories?


Objectives


  • Students will be introduced to three central skills: clear and detailed argumentation in writing, constructive critical conversation, and individual textual interpretation
  • Students will be able to place the category “Latinx” (and its precursors) in complicated relation to the peoples it seeks to describe
  • Students will gain a critical vocabulary and theoretical frameworks for analyzing literary works 


Sample Readings


María Amparo Ruíz de Burtón, The Squatter and the Don; Helena Maria Viramontes, Under the Feet of Jesus; Manuel Muñoz, The Faith Healer of Olive Avenue




Course Archive