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Carmen Miranda and Desi Arnaz caused a sensation when they appeared on Broadway musicals in 1939 and 1940 respectively. Little did they know that their spectacular performances would inaugurate the stereotypes of the Latin Bombshell and the Latin Lover within the American national imaginary. In this course, we will examine Latina/o representation in The Great White Way at the intersection between identity, ethnicity, race, class, and gender. The course will introduce students to the Broadway musical genre and focus on the politics of Latina/o Otherness and Difference across time and space within the framing of a chronological and hemispheric/domestic perspective. Emphasis will be placed on how stereotypes are constructed, mobilized, and circulated and how Latinidades, agency, and empowerment result from the entanglement between ideology and given structures of feeling. In so doing, students will critically explore the cultural dynamics, historical contexts, and power relations at work in West Side Story, A Chorus Line, The Capeman, Rent, In the Heights, and other musicals.
Format: seminar; discussion
Grading: yes pass/fail option,
yes fifth course option
attendance, class presentations, 2-page essays; 5-page take-home midterm essay, 10-page final researched archival project on a topic of interest