WHAT IS BRIDGING THE DIVIDES?
The concept of “bridging divides” signals the need to overcome long-standing divisions that have served as roadblocks to the development of Puerto Rican Studies. This includes linguistic, geographic, and ideological divides as well methodological ones. Although Puerto Rican Studies constitutes an intellectual field, most scholars come to the study of Puerto Rico through training in other fields—many of which are still weighed down by outdated canons, and not-yet-decolonized methods. To this end, CENTRO seeks to convene researchers working in different modes: scholarly, journalistic, and artistic. CENTRO believes that this undertaking requires the participation of scholars who can ground the conversation in historical, cultural, and legal research, but also the participation of journalists who are uniquely capable of communicating to broad audiences and shaping public debate.
Lastly, the work of artists is particularly critical to the development of the new epistemic frameworks that the current political and cultural moment requires. Artists have a unique ability to blaze new, imaginative pathways through the revelation of emergent ways of thinking on the threshold of consciousness. Rather than setting artists apart from scholars and journalists, this approach recognizes that artists are also researchers and often also scholars. By convening scholars, journalists, and artists in this work, the hope is to spur not only the production of academic texts, but also of public scholarship, journalistic writing, and artistic products that can help bridge disciplinary silos and plant new seeds for reimagining and re-envisioning the Puerto Rican future.
WHAT IS THE DECOLONIZATION STUDY GROUP?
The inaugural study group, to be convened in January by Dr. Bonilla and Dr. Efrén Rivera from the University of Puerto Rico Law School, will focus on the question of decolonization. The second group will launch in the fall of 2022, coinciding with the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Maria, and will focus on how to create a more just and inclusive post-disaster future. Each study group will result in a collectively authored publication with concrete policy recommendations for Puerto Rico’s political, economic, social and cultural future. They will also contribute to a digital media hub featuring long-form journalistic pieces, multimedia products, interviews, podcasts and other artistic projects created by group members throughout the project period.