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Race, Front and Center: Perspectives on Race among Puerto Ricans


Perspectives on Race Among Puerto Ricans

Edited by Carlos Vargas-Ramos

Published 2017

404 pages; notes, references, index; 6 x 9

ISBN: 978-1945662-00-3  (paperback) 

LCCN: 2016030601

Price: $30.00  paperback


About this book

Race, Front and Center: Perspectives on Race among Puerto Ricans is a collection of essays that captures in a single volume the breadth of research on the subject of race among Puerto Ricans, both in Puerto Rico, in the United States and in the migration between the two countries. Its twenty-two chapters divided into seven sections address the intellectual, aesthetic and historical trajectories that have served to inform the creation of a national identity among Puerto Ricans and how race as a social identity fits into the process of national identity-building. The collection also engages the process of racialization of Puerto Ricans in the United States highlighting how their race has mediated Puerto Ricans’ process of incorporation in that society, how different generations of Puerto Ricans have understood their identity in U.S. society, and how return migrants to Puerto Rico have adapted or re-adapted to island-based understandings of racial and national identities.


Table of Contents


Table of Contents



Carlos Vargas-Ramos

Chapter 1. Un hombre (negro) del pueblo: José Celso Barbosa and the Puerto Rican “Race” Toward Whiteness
Miriam Jiménez-Román

Chapter 2. Puerto Rico: The Pleasures and Traumas of Race
Alan West-Durán

Chapter 3. AfroPuerto Rican Cultural Studies: Beyond cultura negroide and antillanismo
Juan A. Giusti Cordero

Chapter 4. Nanas Negras: The Silenced Women in Rosario Ferré and Olga Nolla
Mary Ann Gosser-Esquilín

Chapter 5. Brothels, Hell and Puerto Rican Bodies: Sex, Race, and Other Cultural  Politics in 21st Century Artistic Representation Hilda Lloréns

Chapter 6. Afro-Puerto Rican Radicalism in the United States: Reflections on the Political Trajectories of Arturo Schomburg and Jesús Colón
Winston James

Chapter 7. Remembering Pura Belpré’s Early Career at the 135th Street New York Public Library: Interracial Cooperation and Puerto Rican Settlement During the Harlem Renaissance
Victoria Núñez

Chapter 8. Resisting the Racial Binary? Puerto Ricans’ Encounters with Race in Depression-Era New York City
Lorrin Thomas

Chapter 9. Nuyorican Visionary: Jorge Soto and the Evolution of an Afro-Taíno Aesthetic at Taller Boricua
Yasmin Ramirez

Chapter 10. Central Park Rumba: Nuyorican Identity and The Return to African Roots
Berta Jottar

Chapter 11. Slipping and Sliding: The Many Meanings of Race in Life Histories of New York Puerto Rican Return Migrants in San Juan
Eileen J. Findlay

Chapter 12. The Social and Educational Inequalities of Black Students StudyingEnglish in Rural Puerto Rico
Elena González Rivera

Chapter 13. Slippery Semantics: Race Talks and Everyday Uses of Racial Terminology in Puerto Rico
Isar P. Godreau

Chapter 14. Domestic Work and Racial Division of Women’s Employment in Puerto Rico 1899-1930
Elizabeth Crespo

Chapter 15. Policing the Crisis in the Whitest of All the Antilles
Kelvin Santiago-Valles

Chapter 16. De la disco al caserío: Urban Spatial Aesthetics and Policy to the Beat of Reggaetón
Zaire Z. Dinzey-Flores

Chapter 17. All This Is Turning White Now: Latino Constructions of “White Culture” and Whiteness in Chicago
Ana Y. Ramos-Zayas

Chapter 18. Changed Identities: A Racial Portrait of Two Extended Families, 1909-Present
Gabriel Haslip-Viera

Chapter 19. Acculturation Under Duress: The Puerto Rican Experience at the Carlisle Indian Industrial School 1898-1918
Pablo Navarro-Rivera

Chapter 20. The Politics of Taíno Revivalism: The Insignificance of Amerindian mtDNA in the Population History of Puerto Ricans
Gabriel Haslip-Viera

Chapter 21. Amerindian mtDNA in Puerto Rico: When Does DNA Matter
Jorge Estévez

Chapter 22. Amerindian mtDNA Does Not Matter: A Reply to Jorge Estevez and the Privileging of Taíno Identity in the Spanish-speaking Caribbean
Gabriel Haslip-Viera





About the Editor

Carlos Vargas-Ramos is a Research Associate at the Center for Puerto Rican Studies, Hunter College of the City University of New York.


Race, Front and Center, is a timely compilation of essays on the contradictory location of race in Puerto Rican culture, that were published during past two decades in the CENTRO Journal. The essays offer a broad range of topics, from the aesthetics of race, gender and sexuality, the language of race in everyday life, the racialization of space, and the elusive part played by race in the historical construction of the idea of the Puerto Rican nation. Scholars and students alike will welcome the addition of this volume to the bibliography of race and race relations among Puerto Ricans in the Island and the United States. Aarón G. Ramos, University of Puerto Rico—Río Piedras