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Puerto Rican/Latino Studies Sequence

The Puerto Rican/Latino Sequence of the Department of Africana and Puerto Rican/Latino Studies is geared towards a multidisciplinary pedagogical and philosophical approach which encompasses the study of Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and Cuba specifically, and the rest of the Caribbean in a  comparative perspective. We also engage in the study and analysis of the Puerto Rican Diaspora and other Latino groups in the U.S. The study of the Puerto Rican experience is framed within the racial, historical, linguistic, religious, social and cultural syncretism that evolved from the interaction of the native Taíno population, Africans, the Spanish colonizers and the U.S. presence.

The courses in the Puerto Rican/Latino Sequence have been developed with the teachings and philosophy of famous Puerto Rican thinkers such as Eugenio María de Hostos, Ramón Emeterio Betances, Pedro Albizu Campos, Luisa Capetillo, and Julia de Burgos, in mind. Their exemplary lives constituted the social, political, historical and cultural paradigm in which Puerto Rican Studies is based.

Methodology

Our faculty use different methods to teach our courses. The following are some of the most frequently utilized:

  • The lecture format
  • The analysis and interpretation of texts
  • The presentation and discussion of issues relevant to the content of the courses
  • The introduction to research methods
  • The utilization of audiovisual resources
  • The exploration of concepts related to the course content

Learn more about the Puerto Rican/Latino Studies teaching philosophy >

Course Content

Our courses are arranged according to the following academic disciplines:

A) Literature: Within the scope of this discipline, our courses focus on two geographical areas (Puerto Rico and the Caribbean, and the United States) and are taught in two languages. These courses introduce the students to the literature from the colonial period to the present. This includes literature that is significant in the development of Puerto Rican literature under Spanish hegemony as well as United States rule since 1898. Another aspect of the Puerto Rican sequence has been the study and analysis of Puerto Rican and Latino Literature written in English in the United States. An example is a course offered each semester entitled "Latino Literature.”

B) Culture: The curriculum in this area concentrates on the Taíno, African and Spanish influences in molding the Puerto Rican national culture and identity. Courses focusing on the arts, music, folklore and popular artistic expressions have been developed in this area.

C) History: In the history curriculum we focus on four principal areas of study:

  1. the colonial period, from the 15th century to the 19th century, which emphasizes the colonization, African slavery, independence movements and the formation of political institutions and parties.
  2. from the 19th century to present, which focuses on the study of imperialism, the United States presence in and political control of Puerto Rico, and the transformation of the Puerto Rican economy and the Americanization process.  
  3. the economic history of Puerto Rico from the 19th century to the present.
  4. the origins, development and struggles of Puerto Rican political nationalism.
  5. the populist reform of the 1940's and 50's.

D) Linguistics: This component of our curriculum, from introductory level to advance courses, exposes students to the relationship among the linguistic codes, and the social-political realities in Puerto Rican and African American speech communities in the United States as well as in English, French and Spanish speaking countries in the Caribbean.

E) Sociology: In this particular area of study, our courses focus on the origins and development of Puerto Rican settlements in the United States; the characteristics of the different migratory movements; the racial experience of Puerto Ricans and other Latinos in the United States; and the social, political and educational advancement of Puerto Ricans in the United States.

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