Lazarus Rising- Miriam J. A. Chancy

Myriam J. A. Chancy is a Haitian-Canadian-American writer and scholar. As a writer, she focuses on Haitian culture, gender, class, sexuality, and Caribbean women’s studies. Her novels have won several awards, including the prestigious Guyana Prize in Literature Caribbean Award.

Part I (223-230)


Presentation: Karolyna Landin

Questions to discuss with a partner

.Why Chancy writes a letter to her soon-to-be-born daughter? (223-224)

.Even though Chancy’s family was constantly migrating why she considers Haiti home and what aspects of Haitian history and identity she highlights? (224-225)

.Describe her first encounters with racism in Canada and her resistance to assimilation. (226-228)

.Why Chancy underscore the importance of intergenerational bonding? (229-30)

Part II (230-239)

Presentation: Barbara López

In two groups analyze these two sections. Every student will be in charge of discussing one page.

Why Chancy dedicates an extended section of her essay to Mama Fofo, her grandmother? (230-234)

How she interprets the biblical story of Lazarus and what connection it has to her other grandmother, Alice, and to her own identity? (234-238)


Open discussion

According to Chancy, what has been one of the main benefits of living in exile?

America, We Are Here- Dany Laferriere

Dany Laferrière was born in Port-au-Prince in 1953. After his father, a former mayor of the city, was forced into exile in 1959, Dany was raised by his grandmother in the coastal village of Petit-Goâve. He returned to Port-au-Prince five years later and eventually became a culture reporter for Le petit samedi soir and Radio Haiti-Inter. When his colleague and friend Gasner Raymond was assassinated in 1976, Laferrière fled to Montreal, where he supported himself with a series of odd jobs. In 1985, he published his first novel, How to Make Love to a Negro Without Getting Tired, which chronicled those first years of his exile. But it wasn’t until 2009, when he received the Prix Médicis for his nineteenth book, The Return, that Laferrière reached a wide readership. He was elected to seat 2 of the Académie française on 12 December 2013 and inducted in May 2015.

Recommended Article:

“Dany Laferriere, a Guardian of French, Joins the Académie Francaise”

Presentation: Kellie Merron


America owes an enormous amount to third world youth. I’m not just talking about historical debt (slavery, the rape of natural resources, the balance of payments, etc.), there’s a sexual debt, too. Everything we’ve been promised by magazines, posters, the movies, television. America is a happy hunting ground, that’s what gets beaten into our heads every day, come and stack the most delicious morsels (young American beauties with long leg, pink mouths, superior smiles), come and pick the wild fruit of this new Promised Land. For you. young men of the third world, America will be a doe quivering under the buckshot of your causes. (55)

Watching […] (56)

Laferriere argues in his personal essay that U.S. media affects the desire (sexual; lifestyle) of men all over the world, do you agree with him? Why? What type of portrait contemporary mainstream media creates about the U.S.? Could you identify current beauty and representational trends?

We Are Black Too: Experiences of a Honduran Garifuna-Aida Lambert

Aida Lambert is Garifuna originally from Honduras. She has lived in New York since 1964. She is a long term Garifuna activist in the Latino community.


Presentation: Brandon Polanco

Important moments in the testimony

.discrimination at work

.cultural differences in Honduras and the US

.the prejudice of lighter-skinned Latinos.

.garifuna social clubs

.achievements and tensions of the desfile de la hispanidad

.a culture that is losing ground


Brainstorm for the interview

Who are you planning to interview? / Who would you like to interview, what type of writer?

What questions would you like to explore?

What category interest you the most?

Negotiating among Invisibilities- Vielka Cecilia Hoy

Vielka Cecilia Hoy is a writer, educator, and founder of Vielka Hoy Consulting an organization committed to supporting students in their college ambitions. The organization specializes in working with underserved communities: students of color; immigrant and first-generation students; low-income students; girls; and students in public schools, helping them in the path towards higher education.

The Afro-Latin@ Reader focuses attention on a large, vibrant, yet oddly invisible community in the United States: people of African descent from Latin America and the Caribbean. The presence of Afro-Latinx in the United States (and throughout the Americas) belies the notion that Blacks and Latinx are two distinct categories or cultures. Afro-Latinx are uniquely situated to bridge the widening social divide between Latinx and African Americans; at the same time, their experiences reveal pervasive racism among Latinx and ethnocentrism among African Americans. Offering insight into Afro-Latinx life and new ways to understand culture, ethnicity, nation, identity, and antiracist politics, The Afro-Latin@ Reader presents a kaleidoscopic view of Black Latinx in the United States.


Presentation: Kardin Ulysse


Why Hoy understands that her black identity requires negotiation among invisibilities? (428)

How the example of the baseball fund-raising event highlights the divisions between blacks and mestizos? (427)

What type of questions the census creates for Central Americans of African descent? (427-8)

Explain the following quote: “Central America suffers from the same national identity dilemmas that much of Latin America is plagued with—namely, where to place Blackness in whitening ideologies, especially when nation-building projects, post- revolutions, and United States interventions favor, and to some extent require, a unified national identity.” (429)

What is the tension between national identities and racial formations? Why constructions on latinidad erase blackness? (429)


¡YO! (Excerpt)- Julia Álvarez

Julia Alvarez is a Dominican-American poet, novelist, and essayist. She rose to prominence with the novels How the García Girls Lost Their Accents, In the Time of the Butterflies, and ¡Yo!

A diptych?

How the García Girls
Lost Their Accents

The four García sisters come to this country as young girls with their immigrant parents. Suddenly, they are swept up in the freewheeling American culture of the 60s (then, the 70s and 80s) with its dizzying choices and challenges. Somehow, they have to try to straddle this life with their Island/Latino culture as represented by Mami and Papi. What is lost, what is gained when a family leaves an old world to come to a new one?


I’ve been asked if this novel is a sequel to How The García Girls Lost Their Accents. Not at all. The García family and their immigration to the USA were the focus of the first novel. In this novel, the character of Yolanda serves as a sort of catalyst to bring forth stories from friends, family members, strangers who have a score to settle with her. In the course of telling their stories, these characters often reveal more about their own yos (“I” in Spanish) than about Yo.

The section presented here, “The sisters,” is narrated by Sofía, the youngest, once seen as a maverick and now reacting to the fame and notoriety Yo has achieved with her novel about the Garcías.


Presentation: Melesa Santiesteban

Open discussion

Expand on the different levels of storytelling presented by Álvarez in her piece?

How different types of technology interact with those levels?

To what extent the notion of a family requires an engagement with storytelling?

Some key quotes

“I feel like my whole life is losing ground to fiction.” (1752)

“It’s as if I’m caught up in some family melodrama that I don’t necessarily like.” (1753)

“I guess I’m feeling expansive, like there are really only a few big things in this world, LOVE and DEATH and LITTLE BABIES Forget fame and fortune and whether or not someone plagiarized you into a fictional character.” (1753)

“But it’s fiction!” she starts in […] But to myself, I’m thinking why can’t she write about axe murderers or law-firm scams or extraterrestrials and make a million and divide it four ways, which by the way is what the other sisters suggest she should do with this book since we provided the raw material.” (1754)

“She sounds so sad like she’s just been kicked out of our gene pool or something. But l know what hurts her most is to be left out of a family story.” (1755)

“Maybe Sandi got the idea of being a single mother from my story, you think? I used to send you guys my stories back then, so she probably read it and said, Gee, that’s a swell idea. I think I’m going to go kidnap a baby, too. You think?” (1757)

“It’s as if Sandi is filled with nine months’ worth of news that she’s going to deliver now that she’s finished giving birth to her son. And she’s talking to a machine, for heaven’s sake I suppose it’s her one chance to say all she wants without someone in the family cutting in with their version of the story.” (1759)

Native Country of the Heart (64-82)- Cherríe Moraga

Native-Country-of-the-Heart-(Part I 48-85)–Ch.-Moraga_searchable

Presentation: Melesa Santiesteban

.Select an excerpt from the story, one that represents central aspects of Moraga’s awareness and queer liberation, write it down on an index card along with the page number.

.Pass it to a classmate

.On your composition book, expand on the significance of the quote you received and connect it to other interrelated sections of the memoir.

My Father Imagines Winning the Lotto- Sara Borjas/ Native Country of the Heart (48-63)- Cherríe Moraga

I. My Father Imagines Winning the Lotto

Sara Borjas is a Chicanx and a Fresno poet, poetry podcast host and creative writing lecturer. Her debut collection of poetry, Heart Like a Window, Mouth Like a Cliff, was published by Noemi Press in March 2019 as part of the Akrilica series.

II. Native Country of the Heart

Native-Country-of-the-Heart-(Part I 48-85)–Ch.-Moraga_searchable

Analyze one of these contrasting formations

.the “present” mother and the detached father (48-49)

.labor and family social life (50-54)

.catholic “sins” and sexual desire (54, 58-61)

.self-abnegation and self-liberation (61-63)