Journeys: Puerto Rico – A Crossroads of Cultures and Ethnicities
This course will examine the socio-political ramifications of Puerto Rico as a Caribbean island with a diverse multi-cultural background. Inhabited by Taíno indigenous peoples, after its “discovery” in 1493, under the Spanish political ruling Puerto Rico experienced colonial institutions, such as slavery, that created a three-tier multicultural national identity. American influences after the island became an U.S. territory in 1898 are particularly notable in the current political and economic association with the United States. During our visit on the island we will examine geographical sites that reveal some key aspects of Puerto Rico’s former and current colonial status. More importantly, we will explore how history may still determine ideological positions among Puerto Ricans, including the observance of certain types of cultural traditions.