T, Periods 8-9 (3: 00 pm-4: 55 pm) and R, Period 9 (4: 05 pm-4: 55 pm) Matherly (mat) 118 Instructor Contact Information: Instructor

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AML 2410: Being Latin@—Spring 2015

Section 4800

T, Periods 8-9 (3:00 pm-4:55 pm) and R, Period 9 (4:05 pm-4:55 pm)

Matherly (MAT) 118

Instructor Contact Information:
Instructor: Jonathan Hernandez (jhernandez4@ufl.edu)

Listserv: SPRING-4800-L@lists.ufl.edu

Office: 4108 Turlington Hall

Office Hours: T – per. 6 (12:50 pm-1:40 pm), and by appointment

According to the United States Census Bureau, as of 2012, Hispanics and Latinos make up about 17% of the total U.S. population, making this group the largest minority in the U.S. But who exactly constitutes this group? In this course, we will examine the nuances amongst the two terms, along with others that are often used interchangeably (and often imprecisely or incorrectly) to refer to what is seen as a homogenous group of people, and which often ignore differences in nationality, race, social class, and politics.

The purpose of this course, then, is to introduce students to the experiences of Latin@s in the United States by reading, discussing, and writing about a variety of texts from established and emerging writers, all of which deal with distinct facets of Latin@ identity.
This course can satisfy the UF General Education requirement for Composition or Humanities. For more information, see: https://catalog.ufl.edu/ugrad/current/advising/info/general-education-program.aspx.
This course can also provide 6000 words toward fulfillment of the UF requirement for writing. For more information, see: https://catalog.ufl.edu/ugrad/current/advising/info/writing-requirement.aspx.

The main inquiry raised by this course is whether a collective Latin@ identity actually exists, and whether this label is a meaningful one. To help answer this question, you will read and write about various literary and critical texts that engage with this question as it pertains to the various communities that immigrants from Latin America and their descendants belong to. As we read these texts, you will be asked to note the ways in which individuals simultaneously identify (or are identified) as part of a local community, as representatives of a particular nationality, as U.S. residents or citizens, and as individuals.

Through various writing assignments that feature your critical insights and original arguments, you will attempt to answer what it means to be identified or identify as a Latin@ in the United States and whether this is a meaningful or useful identification, or whether it is even a desirable one. Assignments for this course include: reading responses, a close reading/analysis of a literary text or texts, a critical analysis paper, a short presentation evaluating a definition of Latin@ identity, and a final creative project/presentation.


All books will be available at the UF Bookstore. If you are purchasing your texts through online vendors, you should search by the indicated ISBN to ensure you can follow along with the rest of the class during discussions. In addition, some e-books may be slightly cheaper than the paperback editions of the required texts.

Note: Failure to bring assigned text(s) to class to facilitate discussion on the days indicated on the Course Schedule reflects a lack of preparedness for class on your part and will result in you being marked absent for the day.
Required Texts

Capó Crucet, Jennine. How To Leave Hialeah. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 2009. Print. (ISBN: 1587298163)

Cisneros, Sandra. Woman Hollering Creek: And Other Stories. New York: Vintage, 1992. Print. (ISBN: 0679738568)

Cruz, Angie. Soledad. New York: Simon & Schuester, 2002. Print. (ISBN: 0743212029)

Gardner, Janet E.. Reading and Writing About Literature: A Portable Guide. 3rd. ed. New York: Bedford/St. Martin, 2012. Print. (ISBN: 1457606496)

Quiñonez, Ernesto. Bodega Dreams. New York: Vintage, 2000. Print. (ISBN: 0375705899)

Note: Additional readings will be made available through our course’s e-Learning site throughout the semester.

The following assignments are meant to provide students with various opportunities to engage with this course and its themes as they analyze and discuss literary works in a sustained manner and in a variety of contexts. Due dates for major assignments are noted in our Course Schedule and on e-Learning, and I will also provide more detailed guidelines for each assignment throughout the semester.

1. Reading Responses—4 responses, 500 words each; 20% final grade

On four separate occasions during the semester (due dates can be found on the Course Schedule), you will turn in a response to the day’s reading(s). You should consider these reading responses as a precursor to class discussion, which means responses need to go beyond a simple summary of the text(s) and demonstrate how you are beginning to work through the larger themes and ideas about the texts we are discussing. I will provide you with specific guidelines for these reading responses at the beginning of the semester.

2. Close Reading Assignment—1,000 words; 10% of final grade

For your first major assignment, which is meant to assess your close reading skills, you will provide a sustained analysis of any literary work that we have read during the first three weeks of class. I will provide you with general guidelines for this assignment, and all students must schedule a conference with me to discuss their approach towards this assignment.

3. Definition Evaluation/Presentation—10% of final grade

For your second assignment you will analyze and assess a definition of Latin@ identity from a list I will provide and present your assessment to the class. As part of this assignment you will note the strengths and limitations of your chosen definition. In addition, you will determine how well the works and writers we have read and discussed in this class so far are encompassed by this definition, if this is the case. Students are also required to schedule a conference with me to discuss the way in which they will address the presentation element of this assignment.

4. Critical Analysis Paper —2,000 words; 20% of final grade

Your third assignment for this course involves your presentation of an original argument about Latin@ identity that works with some of the major issues and themes discussed in this course. For this assignment you may choose to write extensively about Ernesto Quiñonez’s Bodega Dreams or Angie Cruz’s Soledad. Conversely, you may provide an extended comparison of these two novels, or of any two texts we have discussed. This essay also requires a minimum of two outside sources of an academic nature, which means you will need to carefully research your chosen topic in order to effectively present your argument.

As with the Close Reading Assignment and the Definition Evaluation/Presentation, all students are required to arrange a conference me to discuss their approach towards this paper.
5. Creative Project—1,000 words, 15% of final grade

Your final assignment for this course will be a creative project in which you present to the rest of the class what Latin@ identity means to you. This assignment will have three (3) components: the creation of an original work of prose or art (defined below), the presentation of your project to the class, and a brief paper explaining your project.

For this assignment you may choose to write an original work of fiction, poetry, or music. Or, you may decide to create an original work of art (drawing, painting, photography, sculpture, graphic novel/comic, mixed-media, etc.). In either case, your project needs to be centered on some facet of the “Latin@ experience,” however you choose to define it. In addition, you will write a 1,000 word paper that explains your project and your inspiration for your project, the way in which your project relates to the major issues and themes discussed in this course, and finally, how you envision your project contributing to the canon of Latin@ arts.
6. Reading Quizzes—5% of final grade
Sporadic reading quizzes will be given throughout the semester during the first 15 min. of class to ensure that students are keeping up with readings. These short answer and true/false format quizzes will test if you read the text and how well you read the text, which means it is important that you read closely, focusing not only on plot, but on tone, theme, format, and character, as well. These quizzes should not be difficult for students who complete the assigned readings.
If you arrive to class once a quiz has begun, you have the remainder of the given time to complete the quiz. Quizzes CANNOT be made up, and the only excuse for a missed quiz is written verification of participation in an official university-sponsored event for the day missed (submitted in advance), a doctor’s note, or absence due to a religious holiday.
Note: If at any point in the semester it becomes evident that a majority of students are not completing the course readings, I reserve the right to assign quizzes with increased regularity.
7. Participation—20% of final grade

This grade accounts for active and meaningful participation during in-class discussion and activities, as well as involvement in peer review, and completion of homework assignments.


Assignments and Grade Distribution

Reading Responses (4 responses, 500 words each)


Close Reading Assignment (1,000 words)


Definition Evaluation/Presentation


Critical Analysis Paper (2,000 words)


Creative Project (1,000 words)








Grading Scale























































The following is a basic rubric which will be used to grade your major writing assignments:

A An A paper presents a strong original argument that is well-argued, supported, and organized, and which demonstrates thorough engagement with the text and its relation to the themes and/or concepts discussed in the course. Papers at this level also contain strong prose and are mostly free of typos, as well as mechanical and stylistic errors.
B A B paper falls noticeably short in one of the criterion for a strong argument listed above, but still demonstrates a thorough engagement with the text and its relation to the themes and/or concepts discussed in the course. Work in this range needs minor revision, but is otherwise stylistically and mechanically sound, with few errors.
C A C paper falls noticeably short in terms of two or more of the criterion for a strong argument. Work in this range also needs significant revision in terms of its content and organization and may contain several spelling and/or mechanical errors. Nonetheless, a C paper still shows effort and potential.
D A D paper is generally disorganized, obvious in terms of its argument and/or poorly-argued, and may also lack textual support for points being made. Work in this range is in need of significant revision and contains numerous spelling and/or mechanical errors that affect the clarity of the student’s writing.
E An E paper falls short of almost all of the requirements for an effective argument listed above and/or may have lost excessive points for not following the basic assignment prompt or for being incomplete/late/missing. Work in this range is also full of spelling and mechanical errors which make the writing unclear and/or unreadable. In addition, any assignment that is found to be plagiarized will automatically receive a grade of E.
Please note that the above rubric is not exact. Other factors, such as failure to follow basic assignment prompts or requirements, obvious inaccurate textual references, etc. will affect your grade.

General Education Learning Outcomes

The University Writing Requirement (WR) ensures students maintain their fluency in writing and use writing as a tool to facilitate learning, which means AML 2410 course grades have two components:
To receive writing credit, students must pass this course with a “C” or better to satisfy the CLAS requirement for Composition (C) and papers must meet minimum word requirements totaling 6000 words for students to receive the 6,000-word University Writing Requirement (E6). 
Throughout the semester, we will go over some of the fundamentals of writing in general, and writing about literature in particular. I will also evaluate and provide feedback on your written assignments with respect to content, organization and coherence, argument and support, style, clarity, grammar, punctuation, and mechanics. 


Since this is a literature course, students should expect a fair amount of reading and writing assignments. In addition, a class like AML 2410 depends on a high-quality discussion of the texts being read, which is in turn determined by the active and meaningful participation of all class members.

Attendance Policy

You should take attendance in this class very seriously, particularly since discussions cannot be replicated, which means that if you miss class you are also missing that day’s lesson. All students are allowed up to THREE (3) unexcused absences for the semester. However, if you miss more than SIX (6) class periods during the term, you will automatically fail the entire course. This includes excused and unexcused absences. Since this class meets on a block schedule, keep in mind that:

Being absent on a Tuesday constitutes two absences, since we are technically meeting for the duration of two regular class periods. Missing class on a Thursday will count as one absence since we are meeting for the duration of a regular class period.

Exempt from this policy are only those absences involving official university-sponsored events, such as athletics, band, and debate; as well as circumstances like religious holidays, military duty, and court-mandated responsibilities.

Twelve-Day Rule

According to University policy, “Students who participate in athletic or extracurricular activities are permitted to be absent 12 scholastic days per semester without penalty. (A scholastic day is any day on which regular class work is scheduled)”. Please consult the following for more information: https://catalog.ufl.edu/ugrad/current/regulations/info/attendance.aspx#twelvedayrule

Note: Any absences related to official university-sponsored events, religious holidays, military duty, and court-mandated responsibilities must be discussed with me prior to the date of the absence in order to arrange potential make-up work.

In case of illness, a valid, signed, doctor’s note with the reason illness or injury prevented you from attending class may also be submitted, and will be accepted at my discretion. Prolonged absences for any reason should be discussed with me in advance if possible to arrange make-up of assignments.

I will not approach you regarding absences and missing or late assignments; it is your responsibility to keep track of your own attendance and assignments. In addition, unless we have agreed on an extension, you are still responsible for turning in any assignments due during your absence on time. You will not, however, be able to make up any in-class activities you miss.


Repeated tardiness will also negatively impact your participation grade. If you arrive 10 minutes after class starts, you will be counted as tardy. If you arrive more than 15 minutes after class starts, you will be considered absent for the day. Since excessive tardiness disrupts class discussion, two consecutive tardies will also constitute one absence.


As you may have noted, participation is a crucial component of your overall course grade. It is not enough for you to be in class on time every day; you must also be willing and ready to actively engage in our various individual and collaborative discussions throughout the course, as the insights you will gain and provide during these discussions will help you and your classmates during individual writing assignments.

Additionally, it is vital that we listen to each other’s thoughts and views with respect and an open mind, particularly since some of the texts we will be discussing may deal with difficult topics and/or different perspectives than those you are used to. In this class, you are always allowed to present your perspective on a topic or introduce a specific reading of a text, but any disrespect or harassment towards others will not be tolerated and will result in you being asked to leave the classroom, marking you absent for the day.

Mode of Submission for Papers

All papers you write for this class, but especially final drafts of assignments, should feature polished writing and reflect your best possible effort. In addition, your papers must conform to basic MLA format*. This means your paper must meet the following basic formatting guidelines:

  • Your name and other relevant information (course title, name of instructor, date) on the top left-hand side of the page

  • Original/creative title for assignment (something that goes beyond “Reading Response 1,” “Close Reading Assignment,” “Critical Analysis Paper,” etc.)

  • 12 point Times New Roman font, double-spaced

  • 1 inch margins all around

  • MLA style headers with your last name and page number on the top right side of the page, beginning with second page

  • MLA-style citations (in-text, and at the end of your paper on a separate Works Cited page)

All final drafts of papers will be submitted as MS Word (.doc) or Rich Text Format (.rtf) documents to the indicated location on e-Learning. In addition, any requested hard copies of assignments should be submitted in a professional manner (i.e. pages stapled, and no dirty, wrinkled, or torn pages).

*If you are not familiar with MLA format, it is your responsibility to find a copy of the MLA Handbook in the library or consult the resources available at the Purdue OWL website.

Late Work Policy
As indicated in the Attendance Policy section of this syllabus, students are responsible for submitting assignments online and/or in class by the assigned date and time, unless other arrangements have been made with me ahead of time.

Late work is accepted, but it will lose ONE (1) letter grade for every day it is late. E-mailed assignments are not accepted, and failure of technology (computer/printer/internet issues) is not an excuse for failing to turn in work on time!

Paper Maintenance Responsibilities

Students are responsible for maintaining duplicate copies of all work submitted in this course and retaining all returned and graded work until the semester is over. Should the need arise for a resubmission of papers or a review of graded papers, it is the student’s responsibility to have and to make available this material.

Students should also get in the habit of carefully naming and saving all writing assignments and paper drafts on a computer, as well as on a flash drive and/or an external hard drive, and/or a cloud-based service like Dropbox or Google Docs.

Final Grade Appeals

If a student has any disagreement about their final grade, they should contact me first to arrange a conference. If our discussion does not resolve the matter, the student may appeal a final grade by filling out a form available from Carla Blount, Department of English Program Assistant. Please note that grade appeals apply to final semester grades, not individual assignment grades, and may result in a higher, unchanged, or lower final grade.

Academic Honesty
As a University of Florida student, your performance is governed by the UF Student Honor Code, (https://www.dso.ufl.edu/sccr/process/student-conduct-honor-code/). The Honor Code requires students to neither give nor receive unauthorized aid in completing all assignments. Violations include cheating, plagiarism, bribery, and misrepresentation, all defined in detail at the above site.
Note: Academic dishonesty also includes re-submitting for credit the exact same assignment that has been submitted in a different course or a different section of a course, EVEN if it is your own work.
Important Tip: You should never copy words from a book, article, or the internet without also providing the exact location from which they originated.

This class has a zero tolerance policy for plagiarism and other forms of academic dishonesty. Upon its submission to e-Learning, each student’s work will be tested for its originality by Turnitin.com, which compares student papers to other papers submitted to the university, as well as other online content. If your work is plagiarized, this will be noted by Turnitin, and a negative report from this service may constitute PROOF of plagiarism. If you are found to have plagiarized, you will fail the respective assignment. You may also fail the class and/or be reported to the university, depending on the severity of the case.

Electronics Policy

During class, students are required to place cell phones on silent mode. If you are seen texting or using your phone during class lectures or discussions, I may ask you to leave the classroom, marking you absent for the day. In addition, lack of engagement/participation during discussion or other class activities because of phone use will result in me taking points off the respective assignment or activity, which will in turn affect your participation grade.

Other electronic devices, such as laptops and tablets can be used to take notes, access course readings, and work on assignments when class time is provided to do so. Please use these devices judiciously. If I see that these devices are being misused, you will be asked to leave them outside of class.
Personal Emergencies

If you ever have a personal emergency that requires you to step outside for a moment or leave class early, please discuss this with me ahead of time. Otherwise, you may be marked absent.
E-mail Correspondence

All emails addressed to me should be sent from your UF email address only and be written in a professional tone that follows rules of grammar and etiquette. Please include a proper salutation and a signature that includes your name. During the week I will respond to emails within 24 hours, and during weekends I may take up to 48 hours, so if you have a question about an assignment please do not wait until the night before it is due, as I may not be able to assist you in time.

All students are required to attend conferences as part of their planning for the Close Reading and Definition/Evaluation Presentation assignments, as well as for the Critical Analysis Paper. In addition, students are encouraged to attend my office hours in general if they have questions about their progress in the class, or any other course-related concerns or suggestions. Having conferences is frequently the best way for students to improve their understanding of the course material and organize their ideas in regards to writing assignments. If there is a conflict with the posted office hours, please contact me in advance to schedule a suitable time when we can meet.
Students with Disabilities

The University of Florida complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Students requesting classroom accommodation must first register with the Dean of Students Office. The Dean of Students Office will provide documentation to the student who must then provide this documentation to me when requesting accommodation.

Statement on harassment

UF provides an educational and working environment that is free from sex discrimination and sexual harassment for its students, staff, and faculty. For more about UF policies regarding harassment, see: http://www.ufsa.ufl.edu/faculty_staff/fees_resources_policies/sexual_harassment/

UF online evaluation process

UF students are expected to provide feedback on the quality of instruction in this course based on ten criteria. These evaluations are conducted online at https://evaluations.ufl.edu/evals/Default.aspx. Evaluations are typically open during the last two-three weeks of the semester, but students will be given specific times when evaluations are open.


The following schedule is tentative and subject to change (with advance notice) throughout the semester. All assignments and readings are due the day they are listed. Please attend class regularly to be aware of any announcements or updates to this schedule.
Note: Readings marked with an asterisk correspond to online files or links available in the “Additional readings and links” folder (located in the “Resources” section on e-Learning).
Week: In Class: Other assignments:

Week 1:



Course Introduction

Discuss Syllabus

“What does Latin@ Mean to You?”—diagnostic writing assignment


Bring Gardner text to class



Strategies for Reading Literature

*Anzaldúa, “The Homeland, Aztlán / El otro México


Week 2:



Introduction of Close Reading Assignment

Strategies for Writing About Literature

*Díaz, “Invierno”

*Obejas, “We Came All the Way from Cuba So You Could Dress Like This?”




Reading Response # 1 Due

*Anzaldúa, “How to Tame a Wild Tongue”

Cisneros, “Eleven”

Cisneros, “My Lucy Friend Who Smells Like Corn”

Cisneros, “Barbie-Q”


Week 3:



Close Reading Assignment Student Conferences




Reading Response # 2 Due

*Anzaldúa, “Movimientos de rebeldía y las culturas que traicionan

Cisneros, “Remember the Alamo”

*Díaz, “Drown”


Post Close Reading Assignment Draft online and complete Peer Review #1 by 5:00 p.m. on 1/23

Week 4:



Close Reading Assignment Due

Introduction of Definition Evaluation/Presentation Assignment

Begin Quiñonez, Bodega Dreams (p.1-19)




Bodega Dreams, cont. (p. 20-54)


Week 5:



Bodega Dreams, cont. (p. 55-107)




Bodega Dreams, cont. (p.108-149)


Week 6:



Finish Bodega Dreams (p. 150-213)




Definition Evaluation/Presentation Assignment Student Conferences


Week 7:



Definition Evaluation Assignment Presentations




Reading Response # 3 Due

*Díaz, “The Pura Principle”


Week 8:



*Obejas, “Above All, A Family Man”




Reading Response # 4 Due

Introduction of Critical Analysis Paper Assignment

Capó Crucet, “Relapsing, Remitting”


Bring CAP Prospectus to Conference on 3/10


Week 10:



Critical Analysis Paper Student Conferences




Begin Cruz, Soledad (p.1-45)


Week 11:



Soledad, cont. (p.46-111)




Soledad, cont. (p.112-164)


Week 12:



Finish Soledad (p.165-227)




Cisneros, “Anguiano Religious Articles Rosaries Statues…”

Cisneros, “Little Miracles, Kept Promises


Post Critical Analysis Paper draft online and complete Peer Review #2 by 5:00 p.m. on 3/27

Week 13:



Critical Analysis Paper Due

Introduction of Creative Project Assignment

”*Anzaldúa, “3. Entering into the Serpent”




Capó Crucet, “Resurrection, or, The Story behind the Failure of the 2003 Radio Salsa 98.1 Semi-Annual Cuban and/or Puerto Rican Heritage Festival”

*Menendez, “Confusing the Saints”


Week 14:



*Menendez, “In Cuba I Was a German Shepherd”




Capó Crucet, “How to Leave Hialeah”


Week 15:



*Díaz, “Otravida, Otravez”




*Anzaldúa, “La conciencia de la mestiza / Towards a New Consiousness”


Week 16:



Creative Project due

Project Presentations

Course Wrap-Up


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