Cultures within Cultures: Latino/a Caribbean Literature from the United States

Module code: SP2070

Module co-ordinatorDr Emma Staniland

Module Aims

This module examines a selection of writings by Latino and Latina Caribbean authors – that is, authors whose origins lie in the Hispanic Caribbean but who were born in or grew up in the United States. It focuses on exploring recurrent themes in this kind of literature, including racial and gendered identity formation, explorations of cultural difference, and the socio-political dimensions of cultural hybridity, but also provides opportunities for learning about the forces behind migration from the Hispanic Caribbean to the United States. The authors to be studied are of Dominican, Puerto Rican and Cuban descent, and are writers of both novels and short stories.

Learning Outcomes

On completing this module, you will be able to:

  • Explain the historical motivations behind migration from various parts of the Hispanic Caribbean to the US.
  • Demonstrate awareness of the recurrent themes explored by writers of Latino Caribbean origins who were either born in, or have grown up in, the United States of America.
  • Contextualise analytical readings of the texts studied within that social and cultural history.
  • Present this new knowledge in both oral presentations and academic essays.

Teaching and Learning Methods

The broader historical aspects of the course will be introduced by short lectures, and related texts will be examined through group discussion and group presentations in seminars.


  • Essay of 2,000-2,500 words (60%)
  • In-class presentation (10%)
  • Exam, 60 minutes (30%)

Set Texts

  • Drown (1997), Junot Diaz (Dominican-American)
  • How the García Girls Lost Their Accents (2001), Julia Álvarez (Dominican-American)
  • Almost a Woman (1999), by Esmeralda Santiago (Puerto Rican-American)
  • The Aguero Sisters (1997), Cristina García (Cuban American)