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Open Boats: Puerto Rican Studies in Relation

Open Boats: Puerto Rican Studies in Relation

Location: The Silberman School of Social Work

Cost: Free

June 6 @ 8:00 am June 7 @ 5:00 pm EDT

Join CENTRO & The Diaspora Solidarities Lab (DSL) for two days of presentations, workshops, conversations, a film screening, live music, and more leading up to the 116th St. Festival & the National Puerto Rican Day Parade. Taking place on June 6th and 7th at the Silberman School of Social Work in East Harlem, this symposium will host scholars, organizers, cultural workers, authors, and artists from Puerto Rico and the diaspora. Come meet the DSL Fellows and join the CENTRO staff for an exciting week!

Day One: June 6th, 2024

11:45 AM EST – 12:45 PM EST The Practice of Solidarity: Grassroots Activism in Puerto Rico

The multiple ongoing crises in Puerto Rico encompasses a spectrum of challenges, spanning from instances of femicide to food insecurity, and environmental degradation. The government has exacerbated these issues by failing to address these compounding issues. In the wake of this, grassroots community organizations have engaged in radical acts of solidarity as a means to mobilize constructive transformations. Join us in discussing the contours of knowledge and practices of solidarity and grassroots activism. Panelists include members of: Amigxs Del Mar, Alianza Mujeres Viequense, and Comedores Sociales.

1:45 PM EST – 4:45 PM EST Open Boats, Public Knowledge: Archival Study, Storytelling, & Digital Humanities Research

Join the DSL Open Boat Lab research groups, community fellows, and affiliates as they present their research to the community. The Open Boat Lab develops community, story telling, and curatorial skills. In addition to the creation of digital archives, museum and gallery exhibits, and community workshops, they offer online and in-person workshops to help transform how we approach knowledge production, storytelling, documentation, and archives. Presentations will include projects by: After the Storm: A Digital Archive of Survival, The Afro-Latinx Lab, Revista Étnica, Proyecto Kokobalé, Taller Entre Aguas, Kitsimba Project, members of the Caribbean Digital Collective, and more. 

6:30 PM EST – 8:00 PM EST Cafecito con… Natasha Alford: American Negra

Award-winning journalist Natasha S. Alford’s latest book, American Negra, is a narrative that is part memoir, part cultural analysis, where she reflects on growing up in a working-class family from the city of Syracuse, NY. Join Alford and renowned writer, Keyaira Kelly, as they explore American Negra and the expectations and realities of existing as an Afro-Boricua. 

Day Two: June 7th, 2024

1:30 PM EST – 2:30 PM EST Afternoon Tertulia: Communities in Relation: Cultural Work as Radical Praxis

Join us for an Afternoon Tertulia featuring NYC and Puerto Rican cultural workers. Panelists Charles Rice Gonzalez (Co-founder of BAAD – Bronx Academy of Arts & Dance), Rosalba Rolón (Artistic Director of Pregones Puerto Rican Traveling Theater), Monxo Lopez (Curator at the City Museum of New York), Caridad (La Bruja) De La Luz (Executive Director of the Nuyorican Poets Cafe), and Alejandro Epfanio (Executive Director at Loisaida Inc.) will share their rooted community work and will share their trajectories to working with NYC-based arts and community organizations.

2:45 PM EST – 5:00 PM EST Romance Tropical (1934) Screening & Post-Show Discussion

Join us for a special screening of Romance Tropical (1934), the first Puerto Rican feature film with sound, and the second Spanish language movie with sound in the world! The film was considered lost for over 80 years, before a print was located in the PHI/Krypton Collection at UCLA. Photographed, directed and produced by Puerto Rican film pioneer, Juan Emilio Viguié, Romance Tropical tells the story of a young man who discovers a pre-modern tribe on an island and a fortune in pearls, subsequently falling in love with a beautiful native woman while his upper-class sweetheart waits in the city. The man exploits the island and its assets, both literally & figuratively, before returning to the city to marry his sweetheart.

Join Dr. Rojo Robles (Assistant Professor at the Black and Latinx Studies Department at Baruch College, CUNY.), Maillim (May) Santiago (PhD candidate in the Cultural Studies program at George Mason University), and Pedro Doreste and Dalina Perdomo (DSL’s Manchineel Project) in conversation as we attempt to understand how the film is an allegory for the colonization and exploitation of third world nations.

This screening is produced by the DSL’s newest microlab, the Manchineel Project, a multimedia & multimethod interrogation of whiteness in Caribbean moving images & aims to create a living syllabus to better understand the intersections of race and cinema in the Caribbean and its diasporas. 

5:15 PM EST – 8:30 PM Workshop & Performance led by Proyecto Kokobalé & Closing Party

Kokobalé/Cocobalé is a martial tradition of Afro-Puerto Rican origin that is practiced with sticks or machetes and with the musical accompaniment of the Puerto Rican Bomba, our oldest musical tradition of African origin. This tradition includes elements of fighting, music, dance and rituals. Kokobalé Project is the only cultural-community organization dedicated to the research, preservation, development, promotion and rescue of our ancestral dance/martial art, Kokobalé/Cocobalé. Join us for a workshop where you can learn the rhythm of Kokobalé and move along with us!

2180 3rd Ave
New York, New York 10035