Studying Puerto Ricans: Introducing this Section
The goal of this section is to provide the reader with a brief introduction to the field of Puerto Rican Studies and the topics addressed by scholars working in this field.We will also include articles on the role that PRSA has played in its evolution since the Association was founded in 1992.
For this first edition of our new website we are delighted to feature a retrospective of the field and of PRSA’s foundation written by one of the major pioneers in Puerto Rican and LatinaLatino Studies, Professor Edna Acosta-Belén, Distinguished Professor of Latin American, Caribbean, U.S. Latinoa and Women’s Studies at the University at Albany, State University of New York (SUNY), where she is also Director of the Center for Latino, Latin American and Caribbean Studies (CELAC).
Prof. Acosta-Belén was one PRSA’s principal founders and served in the Association’s Executive Council in 1998-2004, including as President in 2000-2002.
We are very grateful to Prof. Acosta-Belén for providing us with this retrospective for the first edition of this website.
Future versions of this “Puerto Ricans” section will include additional content on Puerto Rico and Puerto Ricans in the United States, and on the emergence, evolution and current state of “Puerto Rican Studies” in both the United States and Puerto Rico.
Including in this section articles on the study of Puerto Rico in relation to the field of Puerto Rican Studies represents a fascinating and challenging task. First, because the study of Puerto Rican island society, its history, contemporary realities, cultural production and more, has a far longer history than the study of Puerto Ricans in the United States. Second, because the study of island Puerto Rican society, in Puerto Rico itself, has not been usually considered within the framework of the emergence of ethnic studies curricular programs and research centers that developed in the United States mainly since the 1960s and 1970s.
This section of PRSA’s new website will attempt to bridge this gap in a variety of ways.
We hope to consider, for example, how the emergence of minority racial and ethnic civil rights struggles in the post-World War II United States, especially in the 1960s-1970s, had an impact on the development of scholarship on, and the teaching of Puerto Rico.
To begin with, these civil rights movements led to the creation, at unprecedented levels beginning in the 1970s, of new opportunities for island Puerto Rican students to pursue graduate degrees at universities in the United States, and for funding their doctoral and post-doctoral research projects.
Moreover, these civil rights movements also led to the development of affirmative action policies in U.S. colleges and universities that were largely responsible for a sharp increase in the hiring of both island and diaspora Puerto Rican scholars across all fields in the Humanities and Social Sciences. With time, both island-raised and stateside-raised Puerto Rican scholars contributed to the creation of curricular programs teaching Puerto Rican and Latina/Latino Studies programs, and have helped train new cohorts of both island and stateside Puerto Rican scholars and provided many of them additional opportunities for teaching and research funding in these fields.
These factors, among others, have contributed to an explosion in the number of cutting-edge doctoral dissertations, as well as books and journal articles published both in English and Spanish, by publishers from the United States, Puerto Rico and elsewhere, that have helped re-focus the study of Puerto Rico, not just Puerto Ricans in the United States, regardless of whether their authors work in stateside or island institutions. A simple glance at the lists of faculty members in departments, programs and research institutes in Puerto Rican universities would easily show that a very large percentage of these colleagues obtained their graduate degrees in the United States, usually funded by fellowship programs and other grant opportunities created in response to the civil rights movements of the 1960s and 1970s.
Striving to bridge the gaps between island-based and United States-based scholars and scholarship, we will also need to consider the extent to which scholarly trends and research paradigms developed in the United States have helped to transform many fields of inquiry in, as well as the teaching of, Puerto Rico on the island itself.
In this context, we welcome your suggestions of topics that we could address in this “Puerto Ricans” section and in “El Noticiero” blog, including notices on the publication of new and important books and journal articles, in Spanish or English, or the holding of conferences and other symposia addressing the history and contemporary realities of Puerto Ricans anywhere.
We welcome also contributions by PRSA members of articles, in English or Spanish, for possible inclusion in the blog. The publication of such submissions is contingent upon the content and form being relevant and appropriate for a scholarly professional organization focused on the study of Puerto Rico and Puerto Ricans in the diaspora. All submissions will be subject to review and approval by the Editor and the Website Editorial Committee.
If you are interested in submitting an article, please contact the Editor using the form found in the “Contact Us” page. We ask that you select “website” under message type and give us your complete contact information to facilitate correspondence. Using the “Contact Us” form is more efficient because it has a system that allows collaboration within the Website Editorial Committee in managing inquiries, suggestions and offers of notices and articles that could be published in “El Noticiero”.