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Ac 213: Introduction to Latina/o Studies Suggested Topics for Web-Based Final Project

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AC 213: Introduction to Latina/o Studies

Suggested Topics for Web-Based Final Project

Create an altar to a notable Latina/o figure that has passed away:

First do some research on the spiritual, religious, and artistic dimensions of the altar-building tradition in the Americas. For many generations the tradition of altar building was carried on by women within the home. More recently it has been taken up by Latina/o artists as an aesthetic form, and even deployed as a medium of political expression by Latina/o activists.

The idea is to create much more than a bio page, but to draw inspiration from the artistic and spiritual tradition of altar construction and design a page that expresses your particular vision of the significance of the individual you choose to honor.
Possible altar subjects include:

  • Gloria Anzaldúa, Tejana poet, critic, author of Borderlands/la frontera

  • Pedro Pietri, Puerto Rican poet, poet laureate for the Young Lords Party

  • Cesar Chavez, Civil Rights activist, founder of the UFW

  • Thomas Rivera, educator, author, scholar

  • Jose Martí, 19th century transnational intellectual, Cuban freedom fighter

  • Americo Peredes, Mexican American folklorist

  • Anthony Quinn, Irish Mexican actor and two-time Oscar winner

  • Dolores del Rio, Mexican-born actress.

  • Arturo Islas, Author, The Rain Gods

  • Rita Hayworth, actress

  • Emma Tenayuca, Tejana labor activist

  • Roberto Clemente, Puerto Rican baseball player

  • Freddie Prince, Jr., Puerto Rican actor and comedian

  • Tito Puente, Puerto Rican bandleader, composer and percussionist.

  • Julian Samora, educator, sociologist

  • Celia Cruz, Cuban-born singer, known as "the queen of salsa".

  • Selena, Tejana singer

  • Desi Arnez, Cuban born actor, producer

  • Miguel Piñero, Nuyorican poet, playwright, actor

Create an online gallery of Latina/o Art

Download images from the web, check out art books and scan the images, or take a look at art magazines that feature Latina/o artists. But don't just upload the images with descriptions. We want you to curate this exhibition. Which means that you should come up with a theme, choose a selection of works that embody this theme in the broadest sense, and then put them together in an artful and thought-provoking way. You should include the following in your exhibition:

  1. An Introduction to the exhibition that articulates the particular theme of your exhibit addresses its interconnection with Latina/o expressive culture (either historical or contemporary) and expresses your reasons for choosing the works of art.

  2. Biographical entries on the artists whose work you have chosen to display.

  3. A short art review (written by you) that examines each art piece individually and addresses the work's appropriateness to your theme.

  4. Remember to include attributions for all of the images you use. This means citing both the artist that created them and the book, website, or magazine that you borrowed them from.

Create an online anthology of Latina/o writing

This project is similar to the gallery project–except that it asks you to think about Latina/o expressive culture from a textual perspective. Go to the library and take a look at anthologies of Latina/o writing. What kind of works do they include? How are the authors' contributions divided or grouped? Why do you think that so much of Latina/o writing is produced or gathered in anthologies? Imagine putting together your own anthology. What works would you include? How would you organize it? What illustrations might you include? Make sure to include the following in your anthology:

  1. An Introduction to the anthology that explains the particular theme of your collection or your rationale for bringing these authors together. In your introduction make sure you address the historical significance of the works you have chosen (are they contemporary, are they historical, do they span a series of years?)

  2. Biographical entries on the authors whose work you have chosen to include.

  3. A short review (written by you) that examines each contribution individually and addresses the work's appropriateness to your theme.

  4. Remember to include full references for all of the texts that you use. This means citing both the author and the book, website, or magazine that you borrowed them from.

Build an online "Casita"

First, research the significance of Casitas for Puerto Rican communities. "Casitas" are generally an urban phenomena, and can be found scattered throughout Latina/o neighborhoods in New York City. Usually built in abandoned lots using recycled materials, Casitas are spaces where community members can come together and relax, talk, and interact. Take a look at some pictures of Casitas, think about how they represent an alternative space for community meaning-making. . Create a cyber casita and decide on a general theme of Puerto Rican history or culture that you would like to address. Can you think of a way to represent community history using the Casita form? For example, you could focus on migration patterns, cultural nationalism, Young Lords party, etc.

Create a Latina/o Community Resource Guide for Washtenaw County

Imagine you have just relocated to Washtenaw County. Maybe you come from Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, or Cuba; or perhaps you are form another city in the US with a large Latina/o Community like Los Angeles or New York. What community resources might you need to feel at home? Your job is to create a website that lists services available to Latina/os in Washtenaw County. The following information would be useful, but is by no means a complete list. Use the list below, but also build on it as you find out more about the needs of Latina/os in Washtenaw County:

  • Religious Services in Spanish

  • Immigration and naturalization information (bilingual)

  • Ethnic food stores and Restaurants

  • Botica-Ethnic medicinal supply store

  • Educational services in Spanish (ESL, night school, elementary and secondary bilingual ed and tutoring programs)

  • Spanish language media (radio, television, newspapers, magazines)

  • Latina/o clubs and organizations

  • Latina/o social services

  • Soccer leagues

  • Video/music store where you can find Spanish language movies and music

Create a History of Latinos through music

You can go in several directions with this project. The important thing to remember is that you should use the various musical forms created by Latina/os to express the demographic, cultural and political transformations of the 20th (and 21st) century. You might create a map of the United States (and the Caribbean) and chart the movement of musical forms linking it to migration patterns. Or perhaps you could create a timeline of Cuban, Puerto Rican, or Mexican history and link important historical moments to key Latina/o musical forms like Salsa, Plena, or Conjunto music. While it is desirable that you use actual samples of music to illustrate your point, make sure that you follow university guidelines for working with MP3s.

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