Course Description

This course, taught as part of the semester-long study abroad program in Trujillo, Spain, focuses on contemporary literature written in the U.S. by women of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Dominican, and Cuban heritage, all places that were historically part of the Spanish Empire.

We will read and discuss fiction, poetry, and non-fiction by writers such as Gloria Anzaldúa, Cherrie Moraga, Helena Maria Viramontes, Sandra Cisneros, Julia Alvarez, Carmen Maria Machado, Elizabeth Acevedo, and others.  Topics we’ll cover in the course include cultural identity, assimilation, and resistance; language use—including bilingualism and Spanglish; immigrant and refugee experiences; reworkings/revisions of traditional religion, myth and history; borderlands and hybrid identities; and intersections of ethnicity with gender, class, and sexuality.

It is especially fitting that we will study these writers in Trujillo, a city at the center of Spanish colonization and the birthplace of many conquistadors, including the famous Francisco Pizarro. The legacies of Spanish exploration and colonization, as we will see, still affect contemporary peoples and cultures today.


  • The Moths and Other Stories, Helena Maria Viramontes
  • The House on Mango Street, Sandra Cisneros
  • In the Time of Butterflies, Julia Alvarez
  • Poet X, Elizabeth Acevedo
  • Assorted PDF stories and articles available on the class website