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Rethinking Puerto Rican Sovereignty in the Face of Crisis


Rethinking Puerto Rican Sovereignty in the Face of Crisis

LLILAS New Faculty Presentation
Rethinking Sovereignty in the Face of Crisis: Lessons from the Puerto Rican Nationalist Party

Mónica A. Jiménez
Assistant Professor, African and African Diaspora Studies
SRH 1.313, Hackett Room
Map: http://bit.ly/2uPEBNY

In the early 20th century, Puerto Rican Nationalist Party leader Pedro Albizu Campos argued that the US presence in Puerto Rico was an unlawful occupation. To his thinking, it was Puerto Rico, and not Spain, that had the right to decide the island’s destiny after the Spanish American War. In response to Albizu Campos’ arguments, the US government maintained that the autonomy that Spain granted the island was not tantamount to sovereignty.

This presentation addresses the historic conflagration of sovereignty and autonomy that has plagued the island’s history with the United States. Jiménez argues that despite the slippage between sovereignty and autonomy in Albizu Campos’ argument, there are nevertheless lessons for us in his urging against US control over the island. In the face of the double crises of economic and environmental disaster facing the island today, this talk revisits nationalist thinking in search of a way forward in the present. Ultimately, Jiménez asks what, if anything, can nationalism teach us about the Puerto Rico’s current moment and the way forward?

Mónica A. Jiménez is an historian and an assistant professor in the African and African Diaspora Studies Department. Her teaching and research explores the intersections of law, race, and nationalism in US empire building in Latin America and the Caribbean. She is particularly concerned with the role that law has played in the creation of the relationship between the United States and its island colony of Puerto Rico. Her book manuscript, "American State of Exception," offers a legal history of race and exception in United States empire building and centers on the place of Puerto Rico within that larger historical trajectory.

Jiménez has received fellowships in support of her work from the Ford Foundation, the Puerto Rican Studies Association, the Institute for Global Law and Policy at Harvard Law School, and the University of Texas at Austin.

Free and open to the public. For more information, contact Paloma Diaz at p ! diaz | austin ! utexas ! edu.

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