Spring 2020 UPDATED 3/26/2020

PRLS 3203 W5:  Latino/a/x Diasporas in the United States

Professor: Rojo Robles, PhD 


Office Hours/Student Consultations: W 4:00-5:00 PM or by appointment

*By email preferably but a telephone call or videoconference are possibilities as well.

Course Site:

Class Meets: online through the WordPress site

*Lessons, videos, readings, writing, and discussion prompts will be presented on Mondays. You will have until the following Sunday at 11:59 PM (one week) to answer and engage in discussions with classmates and /or submit written assignments.


Official course description:

3 hours; 3 credits

Formation of Latino/a/x diasporas in the United States. Legacy of indigenous societies, colonization. African diasporas in Latin America. Racial formation. Latin American societies. Demographic patterns, (im)migration, settlement and community development. Issues of citizenship, racism, and discrimination. Transnationalism and transnational identities.

Course description for this section:

This course is an interdisciplinary socio-political-cultural survey of Latinx communities in the U.S. It will explore comparative ethnic relations and struggles for community representation and persistence. The course will analyze the legacy of indigenous revolutionary movements in México and worldviews within Chicanx feminists, the cultural narratives of Salvadoran migrants, Afro Diasporic poetics within Dominicans, Puerto Rican climate migrants and aesthetics of liberation, educational and linguistic struggles among Latinxs and New York as a Latino/a/x diasporic city. The objective of the class is to facilitate entries into Latin American and Latinx culture and identities while framing the fight for visibility, human rights and artistic platforms in the hemisphere and the U.S.

A brief note on “Latinx”:

Latinx is the gender-neutral alternative to Latino, Latina and even Latin@. Used by scholars, activists and an increasing number of journalists, Latinx is quickly gaining popularity among the general public. It’s part of a “linguistic revolution” that aims to move beyond gender binaries and is inclusive of the intersecting identities of Latin American descendants. In addition to men and women from all racial backgrounds, Latinx also makes room for people who are trans, queer, agender, non-binary, gender non-conforming or gender fluid.

– Tanisha Love Ramirez and Zeba Blay, “Why People Are Using The Term ‘Latinx’”

Course goals: 

This course satisfies the following goals of the PRLS department:

. Developing a contextual understanding of the experiences of US Latino/a/x people.

. Understanding the Latino/a/x migration process and the merging realities of diasporic communities in the United States.

. Demonstrating knowledge of dynamics of race, ethnicity, class, gender, national origin, with regard to the experience of Latino/a/x people.

. Articulating experience of Latinos/as/x in a transnational context.

. Critiquing concepts such as justice, rights, advocacy, and citizenship with regard to Latino/a/x communities.

Learning objectives:

. Deepening knowledge of the indigenous and African cultural legacies and histories within Latino/a/x communities in the United States.

. Researching, learning, and presenting new Latino/a/x sources to the class.

. Learning about the different literary genres produced by Latino/a/x in the US.

. Study the style and characteristics of each work as well as the historical background and the author’s life, activities, and goals.

. Critically interpret the content, discourse and form of critical and literary works.

Course assignments and grading: 

Classroom/online reflections: 20%

Two classroom presentations (5% x 2): 10% 

Abstract (5%) + midterm project (20%): 25%

Response paper on an interview: 10%

Final exam: 25% 

Attendance and participation: 10% 

*From 3/23 on, attendance and participation will be assessed through your online engagements.


Students are required to attend all classes and from 3/23 to submit a weekly online engagement.  If you miss a deadline to submit an assignment, that would be counted as an absence.  Up to two absences are permissible before a final grade reduction. After the third absence, a conference will be scheduled to discuss your standing in class. The professor will deal with excuses or absences on a case-by-case basis. Special consideration will be taken for those affected by the Corona Virus (COVID 19). 

Course materials: 

All readings will be available on Blackboard as PDFs.

Language: Although I will conduct the class in English and Spanglish, you can write in Spanish, Spanglish, French and Portuguese if you wish.

Student-centered pedagogy:

The student-centered approach puts participants’ interest first by acknowledging their needs as central to the learning experience. Rather than designing the course from the professor’s perspective, it is designed from the learner’s perspective. The learner-centered approach encourages a dynamic relationship between learners and the professor. The students take ownership of the content, determine how it will be useful or relevant to them, and build the connections to allow learning to happen. When the student, rather than the professor, is the focus of the instruction, the learning becomes more meaningful. 


Week 1


Introduction. Perceptions. Syllabus. Course Overview and Expectations.



Classroom networking


Week 2



Gloria Anzaldúa: “Entering into the Serpent”


Writing activity


Week 3



The Uprising of Dignity: The Zapatista Movement in Chiapas/México


Writing Activity

Recommended Essay:

Mihalis Mentinis: “Zapatista Chronicle” 


Week 4



Ana Patricia Rodríguez: “‘Departamento 15’: Cultural Narratives of Salvadoran Transnational Migration”

Presentation: Sarah Peter


Week 5



Lorgia García Peña: “Writing from El Nié: Exile and the Poetics of Dominicanidad Ausente”

Presentation: Miriam Mayor


Writing activity

*Proposal is due.


Week 6



Joshua Deckman and Josefina Báez: “El ni’e: inhabiting love, bliss, and joy”

Presentation: Sonia Sinchi


Fiction and poetry:

Josefina Báez: Excerpts from Comrade, Bliss ain’t playing

Presentation: Amanda Prescod


Week 7

Academic Recess



Week 8 and 9

Midterm project is due on 3/25 through email:

*If you are doing a visual project (painting, drawing, collage, etc.) please take a photo (close enough, please) and send it with the written parts.


3/23-3/26 (Before 11:59 p.m.)


Naomi Klein and the Intercept: The Battle for Paradise


Ay María! 

*Through a posted recorded video and/or in written form.


Online writing activity


Recalibration Period


Spring Break



Week 10

4/13-4/19 (Before 11:59 p.m.)


Hilda Lloréns: “US Media Depictions of Climate Migrants: The Recent Case of the Puerto Rican Exodus”

Presentation: Ariel Elliott

*Through a posted recorded video and/or in written form.


Online writing activity


Week 11

4/20-4/26 (Before 11:59 p.m.)


Denise Frohman: “Accents”

Mayda del Valle: “Roots and Recipes of Love”

Flaco Navaja and Lemon: “Boriquas”

Presentation: Thu Bui  

*Through a posted recorded video and/or in written form.


Online writing activity


Week 12

4/27-5/3 (Before 11:59 p.m.)


Juan Flores: “New York, Diaspora City: Latinos Between and Beyond”

Presentations: Sabrina Tellez, Maria Nieves and Shakea Bobb

*Through a posted recorded video and/or in written form.


Online writing activity


Week 13

5/4-5/10 (Before 11:59 p.m.)

Students’ online presentations


Week 14




* The response paper on an interview is due on 5/11.

** The last day to post or submit any late work is 5/14 at 11:59 PM.

*** Professor Robles will upload the final exam questions to Blackboard on 5/15 at 9:00 AM


Week 15

The final exam is due through email:

5/20 (Before 11:59 p.m.)



Creative project (due on 3/25)


A. Choose the source discussed in class that had the greatest impact on you intellectually, emotionally and creatively. 

B. In a 200-250 words paragraph present a proposal that includes:

1. The topic, source, and author you will be having a dialogue with and getting inspired by. 

2. The artistic project that you will be doing and the reason behind your decision.

3. A preliminary central idea or argument that you will be trying to convey through your project and the written reflection.

C. Respond to it through a creative project (write a poem, a theater dialogue, a short story or a hybrid text, draw a comic, make a collage, a short video, a photographic series or record a short podcast) based on the following prompts: 

1. Identify the central concerns of the selected source.

2. Frame your piece as an artistic dialogue. 

3. Make reference or underscore specific sections or your chosen piece.

D. In a short essay (2 pages) reflect on what have you learned from your chosen work? Discuss how your piece integrates and interacts with the ideas presented by the original source? How has this exercise helped you to integrate past experiences into your sense of identity and/or worldview?


(200 to 250 words/ Double Space/ Times New Roman/ Font size: 12)


(Word Document Preferably/ Double Space/ Times New Roman/ Font size: 12)

Creative Project Rubric


Student presentations: 

First presentation:

Choose, research, and analyze a text from the syllabus. Present your breakdown based on the following questions (7-10 minutes):

1. What are the central concerns of this writer? 

2. What form/ literary style does she/he/they utilizes to convey these themes or concerns? 

 3. Analyze one specific section by your chosen writer that best communicates what you identified in 1 and 2 above. 

4.  How does this writer complement the concerns of the other writers read in class? 

5. Pose a critical question to the group.


Second presentation (Online 400 words minimum):

Research, and analyze a Latinx poem, a song, an article, a short video reportage or a social media intervention of your choosing. Present a breakdown of the selected material based on the following questions:

1. What are the central ideas of this piece? 

2. What form/style does she/he/they utilizes to convey these themes or concerns?  

3. Analyze one specific section of your chosen piece that best communicates what you identified in 1 and 2 above. 

4.  How does this piece complement the concerns of the other sources discussed in the class? 



Response paper on an interview


  1. Select, watch, listen or read ONE interview (from the interview tab) with a Latinx artist.
  2. Write a two-page (600 words approximately) response paper using the following format 

  a. Paragraph 1: Introduce the person interviewed. Explain how the person is presented by the interviewer and summarize the main points discussed in the conversation. 

  b. Paragraphs 2 and 3: Choose and analyze two relevant excerpts from the interview. Explain them in your own words. Why do you think these sections are important? How and why they resonate with you? Do you agree with the opinions expressed? Do you disagree? Why?

  C. Paragraph 4: Re-state the main themes and intentions behind the interview. How it allows you to understand better the person’s work and worldviews? Would you recommend the interview? Why? To whom?

(Word Document Preferably/Double Space/ Times New Roman/ Font size: 12)