Skip to main content

LEGACY OF AZTLÁN

Myrriah Gómez, myrriahg@unm.edu
Core: Humanities

 

COURSE DESCRIPTION

Aztlán is interpreted as either the ancestral homeland of the Aztec people of México or the contemporary homeland of Chicanas/os in the United States. Some people believe that Aztlán is simply a mythical place that is referenced in origin stories of Pre-Columbian peoples. Aztlán represents an imaginary place around which a unique spatial poetics has formed. It is a homeland to people who recognize Indigenous and Spanish ancestry and the complex colonial histories of Mexico and the United States. Migration stories, political histories, and cultural production have all shaped and been shaped by this eternal place, which has served as the influential homeland of a diverse group of people who maintain ties to their history and culture in the U.S. today. 

In this class we will examine primary texts beginning in the Spanish Colonial period of the Aztec (Mexica) people in Tenochtítlan (modern-day Mexico City). We will examine the Aztec codices as well as read the colonizers’ documents. We will move throughout a 500-year history to discuss contemporary issues affecting Chicanas/os in the U.S. today. We will examine questions of race, gender, class, and sexuality throughout this course. We will pair the larger literary productions with contemporary music, poetry, and art—among other creative mediums— to understand the political, historical, and sociocultural significance of Aztlán.

 

READINGS AND TEXTS

Required Books 
1. Letters from Mexico. Hernan Cortes and Anthony Pagden (translator). 
2. Maltintzin’s Choices: An Indian Woman in the Conquest of Mexico. Camilla Townsend. 
3. Aztlán: Essays on the Chicano Homeland. Rudolfo Anaya and Francisco Lomeli (editors). 
4. Heart of Aztlán, Rudolfo Anaya. 
5. Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza. Gloria Anzaldúa. 

FILMS AND OTHER COURSE MATERIALS

Films 
The Last Conquistador. John Valadez and Cristina Ibarra 
I Am Joaquin. Luis Valdéz 
…And the Earth Did Not Swallow Him. Severo Pérez

STUDENT REQUIREMENTS

Students will be expected to read five (5) primary texts; participate in discussions and activities during class; analyze poetry, artwork, and music; write a review of a museum exhibit; lead a class discussion with a group; and write an analytical essay.


ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR

Myrriah earned her Ph.D. in English with an emphasis in Latina/o Studies. Before coming to the Honors College, Myrriah previously taught courses in the Department of Chicana/o Studies at UNM. She writes about home and the idea of the Chicana/o homeland. She has a forthcoming essay in a book called Querencia: Essays on the New Mexico Homeland.