Part one: due by 11 hours today
Watch Episodes 1 and 2 of the PBS Documentary Latino Americans. Respond to the following questions in thoughtful and developed paragraphs.
Episode 1: Foreigners in Their Own Land
Think about the different ways that Mexican citizens came to terms with the expansion of the United States and the ways in which they became foreigners in their own lands within a very short time.
What did U.S. expansion mean for them personally? Were they able to preserve their status, property and rights? If so, how? If not, what happened to them and how did they respond?
A combination of attitudes, economic strategies and brute force were used to erode Mexican rights and social structures in California and Texas. What are some examples of these different tactics?
Compare the experience of California and Texas with that of New Mexico. How was the experience of U.S. expansion different there?
Often, traditional views of U.S. history look westward and move from East to West. What other perspectives and issues are connected to this?
Episode 2: Empire of Dreams
Consider the various individuals discussed in this episode. How are their stories different from each other? How are the stories similar? Is it possible to suggest there is a single narrative that explains how Latinos came to the United States? Explain, citing examples from the film.
What are some of the important national or international events that are linked to the experiences of the individuals in the documentary? In other words, how do these personal stories represent broader historical trends of political and/or economic change in the Americas?
Why might Puerto Ricans in particular take issue with being perceived as immigrants?
Do you know your own family’s story of arrival to the United States? If not, what would you presume about that arrival experience? How might the experience of the characters from Latino Americans be similar or different to your family’s story of arrival?
What are some of the stereotypes about when and how Latinos have come to the United States? In what ways do the stories challenge stereotypes about Latinos and how they have arrived in this country?
Did the arrival of the United States necessarily mean the arrival of the brand of equality and democracy that are associated with it? Why or why not?
When land transferred from the control of Mexico to the United States, there were certainly implications for the Mexican elite. But what communities — which had been on these lands longest of all — were subjugated under both Mexican and U.S. regimes? If the Mexican elite suffered during expansion, what do you think was the implication for the mestizo and Indian communities?
Please answer these questions in a thoughtful manner using the provided articles. Answers should be in full sentences and paragraphs – NOT one or two words! Be specific with your examples and connections and cite as appropriate.
Readings: Green, Laura. “Stereotypes: Negative Racial Stereotypes and Their Effect on Attitudes Toward African-Americans”. Perspectives on Multiculturalism and Cultural Diversity. Vol. XI, No. 1 Winter 1998-99. Module 7: Module Text/Reading(s)
Riché Richardson. “Kara Walker’s Old South and New Terrors”. Journal of Contemporary African Art.
We have considered myth in regards to “The American Dream”: are myths the creator of stereotypes and expected behavior? Can they counter traditional beliefs and ideals? How is a myth different from a stereotype? How do these two ideas connect to stereotypes of African Americans and the work that Kara Walker produces?
How does Kara Walker’s background impact her artwork? How does the author Riché Richardson connect her own heritage and geographic place with Walker’s?
The author Richardson talks about the idea of a “persisting pornographic white Southern masculine imaginary”: what does she mean by this and how does this play out in Walker’s art and the author’s own experiences – connect to Laura Green’s discussion of stereotypes?
Kara Walker’s art has been described as operating on a “performative level” and exploring power structures and relations from more than one perspective, what does this mean for the viewer? How does “performance” play a part in Walker’s subject and representation?
What is the historical context of the silhouette and how does this choice of medium lend itself to the types of imagery Walker represents?
The articles and stereotypes discussed and represented have a strong reference to the body and its physical presence. Discuss this in the context of the stereotypes and Walker’s continual play between past and present, fiction and reality, physical and silhouette.