CENTRO Announces 5 Year Research Initiative and Fellowship Program

The Center for Puerto Rican Studies (CENTRO) at Hunter College has announced a transformative 5-year research initiative launching in fall 2024 titled: “Rooted + Relational” and led by CENTRO Directora, Dr. Yomaira Figueroa-Vásquez, who joined the institution in 2023. 

CENTRO is the premier research institute and archive dedicated to the Puerto Rican Diaspora, and the initiative seeks to foster a dynamic intersection between academia, arts, culture, and community-driven research that traverses the boundaries of the university. 

“The ‘Rooted + Relational’ research initiative seeks to reimagine the research agenda and scholarly and community impact of the CENTRO in the US and beyond,” said Figueroa-Vásquez. “Celebrating our 50th Anniversary has allowed us to take stock of what the future of CENTRO should look like: a public facing, horizontal, decolonial feminist institute that opens new paths for our various publics.”

The “Rooted + Relational” research initiative will have an annual thematic structure, unifying the work across CENTRO, and offer scholarly and cultural programming. The inaugural theme for 2024-2025, “Archives, Memory & the Present Past of Puerto Rico,” reflects on the material and theoretical importance of the archive in contemporary scholarship and research practices while opening a space to engage with archival contestation, historical  reckoning, the state of our archival facilities, accessibility, and forms of archival refusal. “Our goal for the first year of this initiative is to ask: what are the roots of Puerto Rican studies and how can we best tend to its past and futures?” said Dr. Figueroa-Vásquez. 

Other upcoming themes include Boricuas in Relation (2025-2026); Black Cuerpas: Race, Body Politics & Culture (2026-2027); LGBTQ Activism, Pleasure & Worldmaking (2027-2028); and Land, Ecologies & Environmental Futures (2028-2029).

“This proposed project strategically links the center’s research agenda, data hub projects, media, arts and culture output, scholarly mentoring initiatives, and community partnerships by creating annual thematic structures that will address some of the most pressing social, political, and economic issues facing Puerto Rico and the Diaspora,” added Figueroa-Vásquez. “We cannot fully understand the Puerto Rican experience without continually expanding our perspectives and enriching our research.” 

The “Rooted + Relational” research initiative will support scholars, writers, and faculty whose area of focus is the corresponding annual theme, through an annual cohort model fellowship program. CENTRO is currently accepting applications for the first year, which will begin in fall of 2024.

To learn more about the fellowship program for the “Rooted + Relational” initiative, please click here and apply by March 29, 2024.