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which are still weighed down by outdated canons, and not-yet-decolonized methods.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
participation of scholars who can ground the conversation in historical, cultural, and legal research, but
participation of journalists who are uniquely capable of communicating to broad audiences and shaping public
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 Decolonization Study Group will kick off in Summer of 2022 in collaboration with the University of
Puerto Rico Law School,
to address the long-standing question of Puerto Rico’s decolonization. The conveners of the group are Dr.
Yarimar Bonilla, Executive Director
of the Center for Puerto Rican Studies, and Dr. Efrén Rivera Ramos, full professor and former Dean of the
UPR Law School.
The group will consist of two co-conveners and a "seed group" (grupo semilla) of 10 scholars, journalists
and artists/cultural workers
from both Puerto Rico and the Diaspora assisted by a team of 4 research assistants. Members of the seed
group are expected to dedicate
a minimum of 10 hours a week to the project. Activities will consist of: biweekly zoom meeting, workshops,
discussions and public lectures. Members will participate in two in-person retreats: one at the University
of Puerto Rico and another
at Hunter College (Covid restrictions permitting). All meetings will be bilingual with interpretation
provided, and final products will
be available in both English and Spanish.
In addition, the group will recruit a broad array of thought leaders, activists, scholars, and the community
at large to form part of
thematic working groups, panel discussions, workshops, lectures, and town hall meetings.
How To Apply
Applicants should prepare the following (materials can be submitted in English or Spanish):
Statement of Interest (1-2 pages/500-1,000 words max) addressing the following:
- Why do you wish to participate in a study group on the theme of decolonization? How have you thought
about this topic in the past, what expertise do you hold in this area, or how does it relate to your
- Why do you wish to be in an interdisciplinary conversation with scholars, journalists, and artists about
this topic? How do you think your work will be strengthened through such dialogue? What collaborations
do you imagine?
- Participants will be expected to devote about 10 hours per week for one year to group meetings and their
individual projects. Please explain how you will balance this with your other obligations. Will you have
course releases, a sabbatical, or some other form of time off?
Project Description (1-2 pages /500-1,000 words max):
In addition to participating in collective study, discussion, and writing practices, participants are
expected to carry out their own individual projects. Please describe the project you would develop during
the study group period, stating its methodology, goals, and significance (project possibilities include but
are not limited to: books, novels, graphic novels, journal articles, long-form journalism, documentaries,
podcasts, art exhibits, theater plays, cinematic projects, or any other creative proposal that requires an
extensive period of research and writing or production).
Please explain at what stage the project is at and what work will be completed during the fellowship year.
Participants will also be asked to provide the following within the application portal:
Scholars: Current CV and a writing sample. Those with a university appointment should also provide a
letter of support from your institution ensuring that you would be allowed to accept the fellowship.
Journalists: A resume and a selection of three (3) published pieces. Staff journalists should also
provide a letter of support from their organization ensuring that they would be allowed to accept the
Artists and cultural workers: CV, artist statement, and portfolio. Those with a staff position at a
cultural institution should include a letter of support ensuring they are able to accept the fellowship.
For questions about this program please write to: email@example.com