This Friday, Ileana Rodriguez-Silva will be joining us from the Latin American and Caribbean History Department at UW to give a talk on “Black Male Subjectivity and the Subverting of Racial Harmony in Early-twentieth Century Puerto Rico.” The talk will be on February 27th at 3:30 pm in Smith 304. There will be a reception following the talk in Smith 411 (The Student Lounge) on the 4th floor.
We are looking forward to seeing you all on Friday!
The Colloquium Committee
Narratives of racial harmony and/or racial fusion (mestizaje) have been a powerful political and cultural construct in Latin America and the Caribbean since early colonial times but more so in twentieth-century processes of nation-state formation. At the turn of the century, these racialized narratives were often capacious enough to bring together diverse peoples with divergent interests and goals for the mobilization of selected projects. At the same time, few important critical voices emerged revealing the regulatory nature of such narratives as these were often meant to erase the needs of and the many calls for substantial socio-political transformation. This paper explores the works of one of these important critical voices, the journalist Luis Felipe Dessús, work produced mostly during the early-1900s in Puerto Rico, the moment in which the colony transitioned from Spanish to U.S rule. The figure of Dessús offers a unique entry point to an investigation of the strategies through which Puerto Rican black intellectuals navigated a political terrain shaped by the disarming force of the racial harmony/fusion discourse. This was a terrain that denied them any recognition as racialized subjects. In exploring Dessús performances as a professional, in particular as a journalist, I seek to unearth these intellectuals/activists/