Tu/Th 09:30-11:00 204 Dwinelle Instructor: Matthew Gonzales
A group of Chicano/a artists spray paint the exterior of an art museum in protest of the museum’s exclusionary practices. An African-born woman writes poetry about the experience of becoming a slave. The son of a dying woman journeys to a land of the dead hoping to meet his long-lost father and reclaim his inheritance. A Native American man spends twenty-four hours trying to earn money to buy back a family heirloom. A black woman abandons her home and previous marriages in search of true love. What does it mean to own property? What does it mean to inherit property—to share or withhold it from the ones you love? What does it mean to reclaim property? What does it mean to become property? What does it mean to forsake or destroy it?
In this course, we will examine and explore the social dynamics of private property and consider the question of property in relation to the supernatural and the aesthetic. Is there a supernatural dimension to the concept of private property? What, if anything, do the properties and possessions of the living have to do with the dead? Does property produce an aesthetic? These are some of the questions we will explore throughout the semester. Readings may include: Juan Rulfo’s Pedro Páramo, Gabriela Mistral’s “Los sonetos de la muerte / Death Sonnets,” Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God, Sherman Alexie’s “What You Pawn I Will Redeem,” poems by César Vallejo and Phillis Wheatley, readings from Marx, art by Asco, and more.