Fall 2014 Classes

Students in WMST 233 posing for a picture with Maya Chinchilla's debut collection.

This semester I'm teaching two classes, WMST 101: Introduction to Women's and Gender Studies and WMST 233: Introduction to Latina Feminist Literature.

The latter course is a seminar of 24 students and is a course I've taught several times. In this class, I seek to expose my students to a diversity of contemporary Latina feminist literature. I strive for diversity in terms of both genre and ethno-national origin so we read novels, short stories, plays, poetry, essays and memoir by Chicana, Puerto Rican, Dominican-American, Cuban-American and Guatemalan-American authors. I strive for a mix of canonical works such as Julia Alvarez's In the Time of the Butterflies and Sandra Cisneros's Woman Hollering Creek alongside newer works such as Daisy Hernández's memoir A Cup of Water Under My Bed and Maya Chinchilla's collection of poetry The Cha Cha Files: A Chapina Poetica.( ). This semester students had the chance to meet Daisy Hernández, who is currently a visiting professor at UNC ( They also had the chance to hear Sandra Cisneros give a public reading as part of the Thomas Wolfe lecture series. 

WMST 101 is a course that I have taught several times but I have never taught it in this format - as a lecture to ~300 students! I admit I was intimidated and worried about the course - I wasn't really sure what to expect. But I have found the entire experience affirming and invigorating. Mostly I am excited about the fact that I can share concepts, topics, and movements in gender, feminism, and sexuality to such a large audience. The idea that I have the opportunity to talk about cis-gender privilege, campus sexual assault, white privilege, waves of feminist activism, and problems with the prison industrial complex with 300 undergraduates makes me grateful. Of course, in the lecture format with Teaching Assistants who run discussion sections once per week, I don't receive much feedback and so I largely lose out on the opportunity to learn from my students or be challenged by their responses to and interpretations of the material. 

Daisy Hernández speaking to students in WMST 233.

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