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Research Opportunities Investigating the Changing Conditions of Puerto Ricans and Dominicans in New York

The Center for Puerto Ricans Studies (Centro) and the CUNY Dominican Studies Institute (CUNY DSI) seeks research proposals on the changing status of Puerto Ricans and Dominicans living in New York. This research should focus on the interactions between these two Latino communities and their relationship with other Hispanic, racial and ethnic groups. The research should be designed to result in academic papers for a forum and consideration for publication in a special issue of the peer-reviewed CENTRO Journal.

“The past quarter century has ushered in tremendous changes in the composition of the city’s population, its economic development and neighborhood-level interactions," said Centro researcher Carlos Vargas Ramos. “In the span of a full generation, New York has reversed course, overcoming both the population drop between World War II and 1980 and the economic declines that threatened the city’s vitality. But, while the city overall has overcome many challenges, questions remain as to how the constituent parts of this city have fared during this period of change. Specifically, who has advanced and who has been left behind?" Papers for the Centro/CUNY DSI project should investigate such aspects as Puerto Rican and Dominican interaction; new strategies for economic development; the effects of changing neighborhoods and assimilation; political and civic engagements; other topics related to the two major constituencies and other Hispanic and non-Hispanic groups.

Below are several specific topics reflecting the current Centro/ CUNY DSI research agenda.

Demographic Change and Race Relations: How are the city’s Puerto Ricans and Dominicans interacting with different ethnic and racial groups in different settings, such as in the workplace, the political arena and governmental bodies, the school system? What are the sources of commonality and contention? How does intimacy, which may result in intermarriage, impact social identities based on national origin, race and ethnicity?

Human Capital and Economic Development: What factors contribute to the disconnection and/or connections to school and work among Dominicans and Puerto Ricans? What are strategies to facilitate the transition from youth to adulthood? What makes community-based economic development strategies successful? What explains the decline of community-based organizations (providers of services) in Dominican and Puerto Rican communities?

Neighborhood Change: As density and demographic composition change in Puerto Rican and Dominican communities, who and on what basis do the residents make claims to place? Do these claims and transformation have an impact on people’s lives and their sense of belonging and historical legacy? Can economically poor and/or minority ethnic neighborhoods where Dominicans and Puerto Ricans reside improve without gentrification?

Political and Civic Engagement: What are the conditions that give rise or not to actual electoral or issue-oriented coalitions at the neighborhood, borough and city levels among Dominicans, Puerto Ricans and other groups? If coalitions or exchange of support occur, are these enduring coalitions/support, or are they episodic? How has increased “descriptive representation” affected public policy in New York City? What links are existing political and other community organizations maintaining with the sending country? How are these relationships supporting the incorporation of the newest Dominicans and Puerto Ricans immigrants? What alternative vehicles exist at the neighborhood level for issue of representation?

Assimilation: Under what terms and to what extent is the last wave of Puerto Rican and Dominican immigrants becoming incorporated into New York City? What are the contours of a New York City pan-ethnic Latino identity as the point of reference moves away from the Caribbean towards Central and South America and Mexico? How do African Americans accept, reject or complement New York’s Latino population? Do competing or alternative identities, such as Caribbean, Dominican or Puerto Rican, transcend the identity of Latino/a and Latinidad?

Centro and CUNY DSI will provide selected awardees a stipend of $3,000 to cover research expenses on a competitive basis. Awardees who present a demonstrable need may receive additional supplementary funds for travel expenses, research assistance and other related expenses. Additional awards are expected to range from $500 to $2,000 during the course of the research. We expect to award up to 10 research grants. Centro may provide data management and statistical analysis assistance where appropriate. CUNY faculty members may be eligible to receive course release time as compensation.

For applications, please send a one-page narrative of the topic, research questions and methods for the research. On a second page, state and justify your budget, by including all related research expenses and whether data management and statistical analysis assistance is required.

For further information, please visit www.centropr.hunter.cuny.edu orwww.ccny.cuny.edu/dsi

Submit Proposals and Inquiries to:
Carlos Vargas-Ramos
Center for Puerto Rican Studies
Hunter College
695 Park Avenue, E1429
New York, NY 10065
(212) 772-5707