Olga Herrera  portrait

Olga Herrera

Assistant Professor of English
Degree
M.A., Ph.D., University of Texas at Austin
B.A., DePaul University
At St. Thomas since 2009
Office
JRC 357
Phone
(651) 962-5613

My research examines the literary making of Chicago as a mythic place of work and opportunity for migrants and immigrants alike. In particular, I focus on how Chicago Latino and other writers of color have critiqued the image of the "City of Big Shoulders" in order to ask how race, class, and gender can affect one's access to work and urban experience. I am also interested in urban literature more generally and the construction of space, place, and community in fiction, poetry, and nonfiction. In my teaching and research, I enjoy discussing film and pop culture, with a focus on representations of race and gender.

Summer 2015 Courses

Summer 2015 Courses
Course - Section Title Days Time Location

Fall 2015 Courses

Fall 2015 Courses
Course - Section Title Days Time Location
ENGL 203 - 03 Your Utopia & My Dystopia M - W - F - - 0935 - 1040 JRC 227
CRN: 42581 4 Credit Hours Instructor: Olga L. Herrera What¹s your idea of a perfect world? How would it be different from your friends¹ ideas? Some of our greatest stories have taken up our dreams of utopia and imagined the way competing needs and desires distort those dreams, producing a dystopian reality. In this class, we will discuss literary and cinematic work that revolves around notions of power and the way societies get shaped to privilege power even when the goal is to create a living situation that is equitable to everyone. Sometimes dystopias result from attempts to hoard power; sometimes they result from efforts to create utopias. Is it possible that utopias are never as good as intended? Maybe, as Thomas More¹s UTOPIA suggests, they don't really exist at all except as ideals in the mind of people with power. Possible texts include THE HUNGER GAMES by Suzanne Collins; BATTLE ROYALE: THE NOVEL by Koushon Takami; NEVER LET ME GO by Kazuo Ishiguro; V FOR VENDETTA by Alan Moore and David Lloyd; THE WATER KNIFE by Paolo Bacigalupi; PARABLE OF THE SOWER by Octavia Butler; HUM by Jamaal May; and the films BLADE RUNNER and V FOR VENDETTA. The writing load for this course is a minimum of 15 pages of formal revised writing. This course satisfies the Writing Across the Curriculum Writing Intensive requirement.

Schedule Details

Location Time Day(s)
ENGL 203 - 41 HONORS:Your Utopia/My Dystopia M - W - F - - 1055 - 1200 JRC 227
CRN: 42579 4 Credit Hours Instructor: Olga L. Herrera What¹s your idea of a perfect world? How would it be different from your friends¹ ideas? Some of our greatest stories have taken up our dreams of utopia and imagined the way competing needs and desires distort those dreams, producing a dystopian reality. In this class, we will discuss literary and cinematic work that revolves around notions of power and the way societies get shaped to privilege power even when the goal is to create a living situation that is equitable to everyone. Sometimes dystopias result from attempts to hoard power; sometimes they result from efforts to create utopias. Is it possible that utopias are never as good as intended? Maybe, as Thomas More¹s UTOPIA suggests, they don't really exist at all except as ideals in the mind of people with power. Possible texts include THE HUNGER GAMES by Suzanne Collins; BATTLE ROYALE: THE NOVEL by Koushon Takami; NEVER LET ME GO by Kazuo Ishiguro; V FOR VENDETTA by Alan Moore and David Lloyd; THE WATER KNIFE by Paolo Bacigalupi; PARABLE OF THE SOWER by Octavia Butler; HUM by Jamaal May; and the films BLADE RUNNER and V FOR VENDETTA. The writing load for this course is a minimum of 15 pages of formal revised writing. This course satisfies the Writing Across the Curriculum Writing Intensive requirement.

Schedule Details

Location Time Day(s)
GENG 558 - 01 Latin American & Latino/a Lit - - W - - - - 1800 - 2100 JRC 481
CRN: 42434 3 Credit Hours Instructor: Olga L. Herrera In our current transnational moment, writers and scholars have sought to interrogate national literary traditions, preferring instead to examine patterns of mutual influence among writers and cultural currents across fluid boundaries. In the Americas, this hemispheric turn allows us to better view the complex and shared histories, language, culture, and traditions among Latin Americans and U.S. Latinos/as. In this class, we will read authors from across various American borders whose concerns help us complicate notions of borders, identity, migration and immigration, and language. Authors and texts may include Jose Martí’s NUESTRA AMERICA, Roberto Bolaño’s 2666, Elena Poniatowska’s MASSACRE IN MEXICO, Francisco Goldman’s THE ORDINARY SEAMAN, Federico Garcia Lorca’s POET IN NEW YORK, Luis Alberto Urrea’s THE HUMMINGBIRD’S DAUGHTER, Julio Cortázar’s HOPSCOTCH, Ana Menendez’s LOVING CHE, Ana Castillo’s The MIXQUIAHUALA LETTERS, Daniel Alarcón’s AT NIGHT WE WALK IN CIRCLES, Sandra Cisneros’s THE HOUSE ON MANGO STREET, and Jorge Luis Borges’s DREAMTIGERS. This course satisfies the Multicultural Literature distribution requirement.

Schedule Details

Location Time Day(s)

J-Term 2016 Courses

J-Term 2016 Courses
Course - Section Title Days Time Location