This is an exploration of Latino/a Identity, which will begin from the reaches of philosophy, through the depths of psychology, trekking through history and geography, sociology and demographics to develop a fundamental understanding of the term Latino/a as we approach the second decade of the 21st Century.
Following the inauguration of the first black President of the United States in January 2009, for the first time in history the President nominated and the Senate confirmed the first Latina to the bench of the United States Supreme Court. The selection of the Honorable Sonia Sotomayor for the high court has dramatically affected how Latino/as perceive themselves and are perceived by others. We will explore the context of this appointment and its place in the emergence of Latino/a identity. We shall examine the issues of race and racialization as they affect the largest “minority” in the United States, turning to the community to help us understand Latinidad.

Readings will include portions of:

  • Bender, Steven W., Greasers and Gringos: Latinos, Law and the American Imagination, New York Univ. Press (2003).
  • De Genova, Nicholas, et al, Latino Crossings: Mexicans, Puerto Ricans and the Politics of Race and Citizenship, Routledge (2003).
  • Fox, Geoffrey, Hispanic Nation: Culture, Politics and the Constructing of Identity The University of Arizona Press (1996).
  • Garcia, Jorge J.E. & De Greiff, Pablo, Eds., Hispanics/ Latinos in the United States, Routledge (2000).
  • Gonzalez, Juan, Harvest of Empire: A History of Latinos in America, Penguin Books (2000).
  • Bonilla, Frank, et al, Borderless Borders: U.S. Latinos, Latin Americans and the Paradox of Interdependence, Temple University Press (1998).
  • DeGenova, Nicholas, Ed., Racial Transformations: Latinos and Asians Remaking the United States, Duke University Press (2006).
  • Delgado, Richard, et al, Eds., The Latino/a Condition: A Critical Reader, New York University Press (1998).
  • "Editorial: A Catastrophic Silence," New York Times, November 25, 2008
  • Fanon, Frantz, Black Skin, White Masks, Grove Weidenfeld, 1968.
  • Sartre, Jean-Paul, Being and Nothingness: A Phenomenological Essay on Ontology, Washington Square Press (1993), pp. 301-303.
  • Sotomayor, Sonia, "A Latina Judge’s Voice," from Berkeley La Raza Law Journal (Spring 2002), reprinted in New York Times, May 14, 2009
  • The Latina Feminist Group, Telling to Live: Latina Feminist Testimonios, Duke University Press (2001).
  • Tobar, Héctor, Translation Nation: Defining a New American Identity in the Spanish-Speaking United States, Riverhead Books (2006).

Bob Hernandez

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