Beyond the "Status" Question: New Paths to Self-Determination for the Peoples of Puerto Rico

full name / name of organization: 
Universidad de Puerto Rico/Northeastern University

Summary: Debates on self-determination and sovereignty for the peoples of Puerto Rico have been framed by formulae developed during the Spanish colonial period to support claims for full integration into the kingdom, limited autonomy, and independence. Early during the US colonial regime these positions were hastily translated and have since fossilized along the lines of what has come to be known as the "Status Issue".

For over a century, the sterile debate has been limited to the triad of Usonian(US)-statetism, a colonial "autonomy" (i.e., Commonwealth/Free Associated State), and independence. While the political debates in the Puerto Rican public sphere have been organized almost exclusively around the "Status Issue", the US Congress as the self-appointed trustee of the colonial possession has systematically dismissed, marginalized and at times severely repressed any serious discussion of the "Puerto Rican Question" since 1898. The current financial insolvency of the Puerto Rican government threatens to provoke a systemic crisis of grave proportions. Could this force Congress and the peoples of Puerto Rico to set in motion the structural framework for a workable process of decolonization?

This collection of essays looks to inform the debate on the Puerto Rican Question by dislodging it from the anachronistic triumvirate of the "Status Issue" and the complacency that has curtailed a viable, dynamic, and enforceable process towards self-determination and sovereignty for the peoples of Puerto Rico.

We invite contributions that contemplate nontraditional forms of community, identity, and socio-political organization. We welcome diasporic, hybrid, and regional; trans, pluri and postnational; postcolonial and decolonial; and other approaches. We wish to explore dynamic and innovative alternatives to the conventional triad through solutions that address de-colonization and dependency; citizenship and belonging; historical socio-economic realities and the new global geopolitical realignments; memory and the imaginary. We welcome proposals that engage with cultural forms and structural knowledges toward concrete and programmatic possibilities relative to Puerto Rico's future.

Jeffrey Herlihy-Mera (Universidad de Puerto Rico) and José F. Buscaglia (Northeastern University). Please feel free to contact us with any inquiries.

Please submit a 250-word abstract in English or Spanish to jeffrey.herlihy(at)upr(dot)edu and to j(dot)buscaglia(at)neu(dot)edu by 30 June 2015.

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