University of Minnesota
College of Liberal Arts Office of Undergraduate Programs

College of Liberal Arts Office of Undergraduate Programs

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Nanette Hanks
Assistant Dean for Curriculum

115 Johnston Hall
101 Pleasant St SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Chicana/o-Latina/o: History, Culture, and Identity (CHIC 1902)

Freshman seminar for Fall 2015

Presented by Edén Torres

Description from the Course Catalog

It might be argued that everyone in today’s world struggles to understand and articulate multiple cultural identities. For Chicana/o and Latina/o people whose ethnicity or race separates them from the dominant culture, identities must be formed without adequate representation in popular culture. Instead, we must look past mainstream depictions and into history, home cultures and languages, and ethnic literature and film, in order to understand, express and/or construct an affirmative vision of what it means to be a Chicana/o or Latina/o in a contemporary context.

Edén Torres is a Mexican American who makes her home in two places: the Rio Grande Valley of south Texas and Minnesota. Before going to college, she thought she knew what it meant to be Mexican American, and how she fit (or didn’t fit) into the history and culture of the United States. That understanding was challenged, solidified, broadened, and changed as she began to explore the meaning of “Chicana” and “Latina” through the eyes of writers, historians, artists, activists, filmmakers, and theorists. She’s discovered that the definition of who she is in terms of ethnicity, race, and class is often socially constructed and an evershifting, politically-charged process.