Fall 2015

Puerto Rican Migration

Listed in: American Studies, as AMST-317


Solsiree Del Moral (Section 01)


Migration is an experience shared by most Caribbean communities. In this course, we study Puerto Rican migration in the twentieth-century. In 1898, the United States invaded and occupied the island as part of its expansion into the Caribbean region during the Cuban War of Independence. Since then, Puerto Rico has remained a colonial territory of the United States. We will discuss the historical patterns of migration that emerged as a result of this century-long colonial relationship. Through the case study of Puerto Rican migration, we will engage broad topics, including empire, colonialism, labor radicalism, patriarchy, language, and cultural identities. The course is organized in four units.

First, we discuss the 1898 war, the U.S. occupation, and the early migration of Puerto Rican workers to Hawaii, an American territory in the Pacific. We also examine the migration of radicals and workers to the United States, a history connected to the great migration of black Caribbean radicals to the northeast. Second, the 1940s to the 1960s marks the “great migration” of industrial and agricultural workers to the United States. Some made a permanent move to the mainland, while others, like Mexican braceros, travelled for short work contracts. Third, we examine the return migration of the 1970s, which was shaped by the great cultural production and radical politics of the New York and Chicago communities. Finally, we move to the 1990s and beyond. By then, the greater Puerto Rican diaspora in the United States was firmly established in different regions of the mainland. These different communities began to receive a new generation of workers, civil servants, and professionals in numbers that rivaled the great mid-century experience. Today, more Puerto Ricans live on the mainland than the island.

Limited to 20 students.  Fall semester.  Professor del Moral.

If Overenrolled: Priority given to American Studies majors.


2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2015