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Sudden Fiction: Rethinking Race and Gender in Latinx Culture (redirected from Rethinking Race through Romance in Latin America)

Page history last edited by Abigail Heiniger 3 years, 9 months ago

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  • Grading your papers this week!
  • Sudden Fiction: 
    • "Everyone's Abuelo Can't Have Ridden with Pancho Villa" - 30
    • "4 Microstories" - 150
    • "How to Live with a Feminista and (Still) Be a Macho" - 166
    • "Aunt Chila" - 171
    • "2 Microstories" - 274
    • "Cat's Eye" - 284
    • "Epilogue: Migrations" - 289 



American Fiction Writ Large

Scholars and readers are recognizing (or returning to) a pan-American perspective on American fiction. During the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, circulation of texts (and bodies) throughout the Americas, was common. 


World War II and the creation of NATO (North American Treaty Organization) created a new emphasis on a shared identity in the Norther Hemisphere (minimizing interest in American relationships).


The idea (or social construction) of race is unique to the New World (the Americas), where migrants from different continents collided in new (for many) spaces. We often limit our understanding of race to our experiences in the U.S., but a trans-American perspective on race is especially helpful in understanding how this category functions as a social construction.  




Rethinking Race through Romance in Latin America


"The Remarkable Reinvention of Very Short Fiction"


Is this a scholarly source or a popular source? How is this useful in an academic setting?  


Sudden Fiction Discussion Questions:

Sudden Fiction.pdf


Break into groups and answer these questions for the first 20 minutes of class, then we'll discuss your answers. 


  • What was the main point of the article we read about short fiction: "The Remarkable Reinvention of Very Short Fiction"? 
    • What EVIDENCE did the author give to support this claim? 
  • How does this relate to the short stories we read from Sudden Fiction? How does short fiction allow the reader to send a different message?    
  • In "Cannibals and Explorers" - a MICROSTORY - Ana Maria Shua makes a commentary about the behavior of European explorers and in the New World. What is she saying? How does the condensed form of the microstory enhance her message (see The Remarkable Reinvention of Very Short Fiction for ideas about the power of these mini-stories)?
  • What other story did you read that illustrated the conflict between Native Americans and Europeans?
    • What symbols or metaphors did it use?
    • How did it convey the idea of conflict quickly?
    • What does this say about racial formation in Latin America?  
  • Don Quixote is a satiric Spanish epic critiquing Spanish military and chivalric ideals (and actions). It was written by Miguel de Cervantes in the 1600s (as Spain sent conquistadors to plunder the New World).  What do you think Juan Martinez is saying about the relationship between modern life and the past in "Customer Service at the Karaoke Don Quixote"?
    • Did you find any similar references to Spanish culture (or longer literature) in the stories you read? What were they? 
  • Consider the four microstories by Raul Brasca (150-52). 
    • What do the stories say about the nature of love? 
    • What do the stories say about the nature of romance? 
  • What story did you find the most powerful from Sudden Fiction? Why?  

Sudden Fiction: a Flash Introduction to a New Genre


Sudden Fiction is more than a very short story. It is a narrative that is "suddenly just there" - it exists in a perpetually open-ended state. Like a blurry snapshot, they evoke a single moment or thought, they do not create a traditional plot or story. 


"Sudden" Fiction:

Shapard, Robert, and James Thomas, eds. New Sudden Fiction: Short-Short Stories from America and Beyond. New York: Norton, 2007.

  • "If you are only now discovering sudden fiction and are wondering what it is, the answer is easy: very short stories, only a few pages long" (13).

  • "These new works didn't end with a twist or a bang, but were suddenly just there, surprising, unpredictable, hilarious, serious, moving, in only a few pages" (14).

  • "We decided to search for a distinction within the genre. Stories of only a page or two seemed to us different not only in length but in nature; they evoked a single moment, or an idea, whereas a five-page story, however experimental, was more akin to the traditional short story. Calling on the wisdom of Solomon, we split the child (sudden fiction) into two new children. The longer story became 'new' sudden fiction, while the short became flash, named by James Thomas, editor of a volume called Flash Fiction" (15).

  • "New" sudden fiction averages 1,500 words.

  • "Most surprising, though, it was the suddens, not the flashes, that got the most 10s from our readers. We should have expected this. We knew flashes were hard to write well, with their narrower range" (17).

Retrieved from http://www.ar.cc.mn.us/stankey/Literat/Fiction/FlashSud.htm  


Group Work:

Break into groups and look at "In the Beginning: Sudden Fiction" blog post. Use the guidelines there to analyze the one of the stories we read today. Why does it qualify as "Sudden Fiction" rather than "Flash Fiction" or just a short story? 

Chicano Movement


The Chicano Movement was the Mexican American Civil Rights moment. It began in New Mexico and expanded throughout the American Southwest and across the U.S.. The term "Chicano" was often used in pejorative ways, but it was reclaimed by Mexican Americans during the Civil Rights era. 


History of Chicano/Latino Movements


"Mexican Americans have fought for rights, dignity, and cultural freedom since 1846. In the 20th century the fight took new forms. Founded in 1929 and modeled after the NAACP, LULAC and later the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund and the American GI Forum operated as classic civil rights organizations, using persuasion and legal action to defend Mexican Americans. New organizations emerged in the 1960s changing goals as well as tactics, identifying with the label "Chicano" instead of "Mexican American," embracing cultural pride and sometimes militant agendas." (see Mapping Chicano Movements)


Singing Freedom: Songs of the Chicano Movement


Go to "The Chicano Civil Rights Movement" - Lib. of Congress


Group Work:

How do these songs resemble the sudden fiction selection we studied today? 


Other Chicano Resources:

"Lessons of the Chicano Movement Today" - NACLA

"Chicano Movement" - Brown University


Exploring the Chicana Movement



The Chicana Movement positioned itself between Second Wave Feminism and the Chicano Movement, critiquing the limits of each movement. One of the central aspects of Chicana Feminism has been reclaiming traditional archetypes of Mexican women: La Virgen de GuadalupeLa Llorona, and La Malinche. 


"What is the Chicana Movement?" - University of Michigan


What is a Chicana?

The term Chicana was coined during the Chicano Movement by Mexican American women who wanted to establish social, cultural, and political identities for themselves in America.  Chicanarefers to a woman who embracers her Mexican culture and heritage, but simultaneously, recognizes the fact that she is an American.  It is a self-selected term that usually applies to those Mexican-American women who acknowledge a dominance of males in society, and a history of discrimination and neglect in both the household and the workplace.


What is Chicana Feminism?

Chicana Feminism, also referred to as Xicanism, is an ideology based on the rejection of the traditional “household” role of a Mexican-American woman.  In challenges the stereotypes of women across the lines of gender, ethnicity, class, race, and sexuality.  Most importantly, it serves as a middle ground between the Chicano Movement and the Women’s Liberation Movement. 


Divisions in Feminism: 

In the beginning, Chicana women were inspired by the efforts of those in the white feminist movement.  They too wanted to fight against gender inequality, and the domineering male/female gender roles that controlled limited what they could or could not do in America.  Eventually, however, Chicana women began to feel uncomfortable in this movement, since it refused to address their racial concerns as well.  The white feminist movement refused to focus on class inequalities as well, so Chicana women separated from it.  They considered themselves as Chicano first, and women second.  Also, they felt as though the white feminist movement was a middle-class movement only, and for this reason, many felt like they couldn’t relate to these women.


Group Work:

Consider the stories "How to Live with a Feminista and (Still) Be a Macho" (166) and "Aunt Chila" (171) relate to the rise fo Chicana feminism described here? How does this brief description of Chicana feminism create a sense for rethinking race through romance in Latin America in these stories?   

Migration and Immigration:


How does the final story address the immigrant experience through the medium of Sudden Fiction? How does it create an experience of immigration that is "suddenly there"?   



Race and Family in Nineteenth-Century Fiction


Comments (5)

Carlee King said

at 3:46 pm on Feb 14, 2019

In the story Migrations, it relates by showing a young boy write his first English poem. It is like Sudden Fiction because it is so small yet it is still so significant and full of meaning. For him, it shows his steps into becoming bilingual and another step closer to not being considered as just an immigrant.

Sarah Westfall said

at 3:48 pm on Feb 14, 2019

The Test- How does it fit?
It is less than a page
has a main idea- losing focus on whats important. the guy focuses more on pleasing the father than focusing on his love for the daughter.
Definitely has chaos, and is full of emotion.

Ashley Young said

at 3:48 pm on Feb 14, 2019

"Everyones Abuelo Can't Have Ridden with Pancho Villa"
It is 4.5 pages and it opens abruptly.
This particular story is moving in it talks about what people should define to be their faith or belief.
The author jumps around a little bit in her writing but also uses abrupt and vivid language.

Noel Saunders said

at 3:48 pm on Feb 14, 2019

Megan and Noel:
We chose "2 Micro-stories" by Manuel Muñoz. His story matches the description of sudden fiction because it is short, it shocks or alarms the reader, and it has a kind of timelessness to it even though it recounts a specific story. Almost anyone can relate to a rag tag baseball team.

Tessa Saiia said

at 3:55 pm on Feb 14, 2019

Amber and Tessa
The story Customer Service at the Karaoke Don Quixote is a small almost like an ad written for this Karaoke bar. It was about two pages long and gets the point across that you have to do what is necessary to please foreign customers.

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