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Puerto Rican/Latino Studies: Philosophy and Teaching Practice

The Puerto Rican/Latino Studies faculty has responded to the increasing number of students enrolling in Africana and Puerto Rican/Latino Studies without the life experience and personal involvement for studying the subject matters (as was common several years ago) by developing courses and teaching methods to help students discover what is universally significant in the subject matter and facilitate education, in addition to the earning of credits. The comparative approach that inspired the department's establishment provided an effective way of enabling students to understand the forces that brought about racism and colonization. Comparing knowledge about peoples having a common experience in different times and places has enabled students with little or no previous exposure to comprehend abstract patterns and concepts, such as prejudice, segregation, acculturation, and marginality.

With inspiration from Eugenio MarĂ­a de Hostos, Pedro Albizu Campos and similar thinkers, theoretical paradigms were developed for teaching the fundamentals of culture, social studies, history and literature from Puerto Rican Studies in introductory courses. Some 5,000 students have been prepared for more advanced courses by studying the Puerto Rican experience within the context of two basic comparative paradigms from the Latin American experience in relation to the United States: 

A. the causes and effects of structurally induced migration:
AFPL 102: Latino Communities in New York City

B. the social effects of military and political dominance:
AFPL 103: Conquered Peoples in America

This paradigm involved comparisons between the colonization and racism from previous conquest by Spain with the situation of groups made part of the United States by war and occupation, such as Native Americans, Hawaiians, Chicanos, and Filipinos.

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