Join us in a conversation with two leading scholars whose research advances and complicates our understanding of Puerto Rico. Each scholar will present a piece of their work and then will be in conversation with each other and event attendees. Dr. Lebron Policing Life and Death: Race, Violence, and Resistance in Puerto Rico The rise and consolidation of punitive governance in Puerto Rico has reproduced hierarchies based on race, class, spatial location, gender, sexuality, and citizenship. In this talk, I detail how punitive governance functions through the reification of already existing hierarchies of value at work in the archipelago, which largely target those Puerto Ricans who find themselves at the margins. In particular, I demonstrate the ways in which punitive governance plays a central role in producing and reinforcing discriminatory understandings of race, which associate Black and dark-skinned Puerto Ricans with crime and subsequently expose them to greater levels of exclusion and harm. Revealing how policing and other punitive technologies produce and reproduce race in Puerto Rico is a necessary task, as Puerto Rico is often imagined as a “racial democracy” free of the kinds of violence and animus associated with race relations in the United States. Dr. Rodriguez-Silva "Ciudadanía Cimarrona: Black Puerto Rican Thought and Activism at the Turn of the Twentieth Century." This presentation is a preliminary sketch of a project that analyzes the content, collaborations, and networks that sustained and were built around the weekly journal Pancho Ibero (1917-1920), edited by Black Puerto Rican journalist, politician, and musician Luis Felipe Dessús. The project’s objectives are multiple. It unearths the contours of a Puerto Rican Black middle class and explores the formation of multiple Black publics. Most important, it also seeks to uncover a much larger story about how racialized struggles and the constant demands to rearticulate and assert Black humanity have fundamentally shaped the foundations of key institutions and practices at the heart of today’s Puerto Rican national and/or anti-colonial projects.
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