Reading Without Borders* [CRN 79586]

Discipline: English
Instructor: Saville
Credits: 3
Day: B
Start: 1240
End: 1400
Field Work: Day 1 | December 2, 2019 | Ecuador
Prerequisites: None Download Syllabus

This course will reflect on global and multicultural life narratives written for and by young adults. Its purpose is to expand students’ understanding of themselves and others in the world through the study of social and cultural diversity by reading global Young Adult life narratives of family, faith, race, gender, class, and nation. This course is reading intensive and every week or two, students will be responsible for background readings and excerpts from Young Adult (YA) novels and non-fiction books. Though this course is not a creative writing course, students should be open to sharing and reflecting on their own stories and experiences in writing while interpreting and analyzing the growth of characters in the YA novels and non-fiction accounts. As we travel onboard the MV Odyssey, our readings and discussions will reflect our ports of call from Northern and Eastern Europe, North and Sub-Saharan Africa and South America.


*Note: This class is delivered when lunch is served.

Field Work

Country: Ecuador
Day: 1
Date: December 2, 2019

Our class field trip will take place in Guayaquil on December 2, 2019. It aims is to bring our study of international young adult literature alive as we engage in a guided walking tour through Barrio Las Penas, the oldest neighborhood of Guayaquil and home to well-known poets and writers. We will walk on the Malecon to visit the Cinco como un puma monument that is dedicated to the Guayaquil Group who were a literary group of five from the 1930s to mid-1940s. They wrote in support of and in response to the tumultuous social and political changes that the Ecuadorian montubio and mestizo faced through oppression by the elite classes, priests and the police. In another form of ‘realism’ – social realism is considered a forerunner of South American magical realism - these writers sought to portray the real lives of the montubio and mestizo of Ecuador. Maria Virginia Farinango Psicologas who was born in a Quichuan village in the Ecuadorian Andes and is the central character of our YA book, The Queen of Water lived between the cultures of ruling mestizo class and the Quichua. We will have the opportunity to meet Maria Virginia on our field trip. To round out our day of placed-based learning, we will visit the Museum of Prehistoric Art, which was founded in part by Demetro Aguilera Malta, one of the most important Ecuadorian writers of the past and a member of the Guayaquil Group. As we go through the museum and after speaking with Maria Virginia, we’ll take the time to write in response to a series of writing prompts.

Learning Objectives:

    1. To enhance visual literacy skills that will come from immersion into the culture and literature of a South American city.
    2. To make connections between history and writers that inform the literature of a country.
    3. To learn how place influences writers and produces place-based literature.