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Headshot of Dr. Elyse Crystall

Senior Lecturer
Department of English & Comparative Literature

Dr. Crystall teaches “Literature and Cultural Diversity: Transmigrations” which takes as its point of departure Mary Louise Pratt’s concept of the “contact zone,” the site where those who come into contact are changed by the encounter. The texts consist of narratives that move across time and history; space and geography; gender, race, class, sexuality, and nationality and challenge notions of what is defined (culturally) as normal, natural, accepted, and customary – that is, the standard against which we compare, contextualize, and define ourselves and others. Rethinking and reframing social relations allows us to imagine multiple possibilities for interventions in (and the re-creation of) daily life in order to fashion a world in which we want to live. Over the years, the reading list has included Sandra Cisneros, Junot Díaz, Martín Espada, Tomás Rivera, Helena María Viramontes, among others, and films such as El Norte, Lone Star, Brincando el charco: Portrait of a Puerto Rican, and Harvest of Empire: The Untold Story of Latinos in America.