Course conducted in English and satisfies the American Cultures requirement
This course is inspired by the concept of the “memory path” that Indigenous scholar Silvia Rivera Cusicanqui has revitalized for contemporary anticolonial practices. A “memory path” is a physical or imaginative journey across the local landscape and into the past. It is also an act of symbolic reconstitution that confronts and repairs colonial legacies of fragmentation. In this class we will read recent works by Indigenous, Latinx and Afro-Latinx writers whose verbal arts constitute powerful memory paths into California’s land and history. These authors confront historical dispossession and marginalization, from the stolen Indigenous lands of the Bay Area to Latinx and Afro-Latinx identities rendered “alien,” “illegal” or invisible, and use memory to sustain struggles for restitution and against racism. The memory pathways they create will connect us in turn to the greater Americas – to Mexico and Central America and to diverse migrant and diasporic experiences. Our analysis will be guided by Indigenous thought from both sides of the border, and by critical and historical reflection on the racialization of space. What is the potential for transformative placemaking that we find in these works and the memoryscapes they traverse?