The Puerto Rican Studies Association for Research Advocacy and Education, Inc. (PRSA) is a non-profit professional organization constituted by a broad group of college and university faculty and students, applied research and support professionals in fields ranging from education to public policy, and artists and community activists.
PRSA members represent virtually all fields of research and teaching in the Humanities, Social Sciences and the Arts, including Anthropology, Architecture, Art History, Demography, Economics, Educational Studies, History, Linguistics, Literature, Music, Philosophy, Political Science, Psychology, Public Policy, Social Work, Sociology, Studio Arts, Theater and Dance, and Urban Planning, among others.
Given the emergence of interdisciplinary epistemologies in recent decades, a substantial number of PRSA members combine discipline-based work with thoroughly interdisciplinary approaches to a myriad of research themes. In addition, most U.S.-based PRSA members are active in interdisciplinary departments, programs and institutes ranging from those with a regional or ethnic focus, such as Latin America, Caribbean, and Latina\Latino Studies, to thematic programs where interdisciplinary theories and methods are a defining feature, such as Africana and African Diaspora Studies; Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies; Film Studies; and Urban Studies, for example.
In other words, PRSA welcomes new members with widely diverse intellectual and professional backgrounds and interests.
What PRSA Offers You Now
Since 1994, PRSA has organized an even-year Biennial Conference in which its members present their latest work in scholarly and applied research, pedagogy, creative arts and community activism. Our Tenth Biennial Conference will take place at the University at Albany, State University of New York (SUNY), on October 24–28, 2012. During this conference PRSA will be celebrating its Twentieth Anniversary.
We encourage you to read the 2012 Call-for-Papers (English version) or Convocatoria (Versión en español), which describe in detail the conference’s major theme, “Boricuas and Other Border Crossers: Of Diasporas and Latinidades.”
Our biennial conferences provide a venue for the professional development of new generations of scholars, whether graduate students or assistant professors, by offering them the opportunity to present their research findings and develop networking links with senior scholars. In addition, PRSA also organizes separate professional development workshops for junior faculty and advanced graduate students.
Beginning in 2011, PRSA also organizes an annual odd-year Business Meeting, mandated by its new By-laws approved in 2010. This year’s Business Meeting is held in conjunction with a symposium panel on “Puerto Rican Studies for a New Century: Challenges, Prospects and Possibilities.”
At this year’s symposium three distinguished scholars in the field, Edna Acosta-Belen (University at Albany, SUNY), Juan Flores (New York University) and Lawrence La Fountain-Stokes (University of Michigan) will present papers addressing recent developments and future prospects in Puerto Rican Studies. You can read the description and invitation of the 2011 Symposium and Business Meeting.
Developing PRSA Services in 2011-2012
As the result of a strategic decision made by PRSA’s Executive Council during our 2010 Biennial Conference in Hartford, Connecticut, the association is engaging in an ambitious project to develop a set of new services for its membership to be delivered through this new website.
Phase 1 of this project, launched in April of 2011, consisted of developing a new website that would combine more detailed information about the organization and its activities. This new website includes a blog, called the “Noticiero,” in which we publish articles about scholarly professional development, such as conferences, calls-for-papers, publications, job announcements, the work of centers and institutes related to Puerto Rican Studies; higher education and public policy issues; and reports focused on the ongoing work of the organization. While initially modest, PRSA has great ambitions for this publication, and we plan to grow it in the months ahead. Indeed, we welcome contributions by PRSA members in the form of articles and notices that address the themes listed above.
Phase 2 of the new website project, inaugurated in mid-October 2011, addressed the vital need to modernize and increase our effectiveness in two particular areas: PRSA members’ ability to register and pay their biennial memberships dues online, and PRSA’s capacity to receive, also online, the submission of proposals for panels, individual papers, and special presentation sessions to be considered for inclusion in the official program of its 2012 Biennial Conference.
You can read more about Phase 2 of the website project by reading a blog article announcing it, found in the “Noticiero” blog, titled “PRSA’s New Dues & Conference Proposals Systems.”
Phase 3, scheduled for 2012, will implement new online services available only to dues-paid PRSA members. In fact, the submission of 2012 conference proposals represents the first implementation of this website’s ability to provide private content for the association’s members. As of this writing (mid-October 2011) we are exploring offering a variety of new online services, and welcome your suggestions with respect to what other services and opportunities you might like to see added or offered to our new, fledging website.
Becoming a PRSA Member
If you are interested in joining PRSA, you should start the process by reading the detailed instructions that appear on the page titled “Becoming a PRSA Member,” found under “Membership.” There we provide information on our current 2011-2012 Membership Dues, and on the requirements and processes for registering and paying your membership dues online or by mail.
We sincerely hope that you feel as enthusiastic as we do regarding PRSA’s current and future development efforts and, therefore, we invite you to join our association as soon as possible. Doing so today would allow you to be part of its transformation into a professional organization for the 21st century.