PRSA Conferences

CVent Summary Call for Papers and Registration

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Education, Gender, Equity and Social Justice: Puerto Rican Alliances to Advance Change

Puerto Rican Studies Association 12th Biennial Conference

University of Maryland, College Park

27-30 October 2016

Education researchers and educators are forging new theories and methods grounded in practice to advance the well being of Puerto Rican and broader Latina/o communities. How we conduct research, teach, and provide access to learning across varied social and institutional settings is informed by changing concepts of diversity, inclusion, and the political economy. As educators, we struggle with widening achievements gaps along racial, ethnic, gendered and socio-economic lines. We contend that educational equity and access is a civil right that promotes social justice. In the current sociopolitical landscape, how do we critically evaluate local, and national data sets and modes of qualitative inquiry to better examine and interpret the needs of Puerto Rican children and young adults and other historically marginalized groups?

Puerto Rican and Latina/o Studies programs and departments regionally and nationally have fostered the development of a cadre of primary and secondary school teachers, college faculty, and administrators to continually spark creativity and interest in communication, ethnic and gender studies, humanities, and the social sciences.  These educational settings in some cases delimit, and in others engage the expertise we bring to bear as educators. The challenges we face inform curriculum and instruction, educational pathways, graduate school advancement, tenure and promotion, and administrative leadership.

This conference seeks to explore the past and imagine a future where education moves beyond the reproduction of inequality and serves as a means to empower Puerto Ricans and other historically marginalized groups to further promote transformative and emancipatory forms of knowledge in practice in the U.S. and Puerto Rico.

We invite artists, scholars, students, educators, researchers, policy-makers, and representatives of local and national non-governmental organizations and foundations to share their expertise and offer forward-thinking solutions in practice to advance educational practices and possibilities.

 The Host Institution and Conference Site The 12th Biennial Conference will be hosted by the University of Maryland, College Park in collaboration with the University of Maryland Consortium on Race, Gender and Ethnicity.

Call for Papers released September 2015 with a due date for responses by January 15, 2016. As additional information becomes available, we will post it on the PRSA website and Cvent. 


Please read the 2014 Mid-Year Presidential Letter located on the Home page for Additional Information

2014 Conference Program

Boricuas / Latin@s in Global Flux: Shifting Spaces of Inflection 

11th Biennial PRSA Conference 

Denver, Colorado

23 – 26 October 2014

Conference Registration Information and Site

The 2014 11th Biennial PRSA Conference, Boricuas / Latin@s in Global Flux: Shifting Spaces of Inflection, which will be held between Thursday 23 October and Sunday 26 October 2014 at the Hilton Double-Tree Hotel, Greenwood Village, Colorado.

Below is the key registration information. We will continue to update this page and the CVent throughout the summer with additional information. Please check periodically.

Please note that the conference will begin with a series of workshops and welcoming events on Thursday 23 October and the panel sessions begin on Friday 24 October 2014. We organized Thursday as a travel day.

All participants who wish to appear on the conference program will have to pre-register. We will be using the CVent registration system.

Please check the PRSA website for more information. Please save yourself some money and help us meet our contractual obligations ahead of time by pre-registering. In addition, we will be using the CVent system on-site.

Conference Registration Information:

The PRSA Conference Registration is designed to cover the essential conference costs, including meals and administrative expenses. Participants wishing to appear in the program will have to pre-register by 1 September 2014. Participants who do not register by this date, will not appear on the program. In addition, we encourage each member and participant to ask their institution to become a member of PRSA. Institutional memberships help us subsidize our conference.

In order to meet our contractual obligations, we have established the following conference registration dates and scale:


(Until 1 September 2014):

Participant (Member)$150

Participant (Non-Member)$175


Institutional Membership$250

Registration (2 September – 2 October 2014):

Participant (Member)$175

Participant (Non-Member)$200


Institutional Membership$250

Late-Registration (3 October – 26 October 2014):

Participant (Member)$200

Participant (Non-Member)$225


Institutional Membership$250


Table spaces will be available for $150. We will secure a separate room where persons, groups or organizations can set up their materials

Publicity & Advertizing

Anyone interested in purchasing advertizing space in our program can do so using the following rates: $350.00 for half a page and $600.00 for full page.

Please contact C. Rob Venator Santiago directly for more information.

Please visit the PRSA Website for updates and access to our CVent page.

PRSA Website

Cvent  PRSA Individual and Institutional 2014 Membership Page:

CVent Conference Registration Page:

Hotel Information:

This year’s conference will be held at the Hilton Double-Tree Hotel located on:

7801 East Orchard Rd

Greenwood Village, Colorado

USA 80111-2508

Tel: +1-303-779-6161

Fax: +1-303-253-3500

We have secured a room rate of $99 per night. The rate will be available until 2 October 2014 or until our room block is sold-out. After all rooms are sold out, the hotel will use a market-pricing system that may be quite expensive. We have secured enough rooms for all persons who indicated that they would attend the conference through our CVent system. All participants are encouraged to reserve their rooms right away.

We will try to set-up a room and transportation share site. Please check the PRSA Website for more information.

Please note that the conference will begin with a series of workshops and welcoming events on Thursday 23 October and the panel sessions begin on Friday 24 October 2014. We organized Thursday as a travel day.

Please use the following link to make your reservations:


Denver is a national hub and flights to this airport can be reasonable, however, like other travel please be sure to make reservations in advance.

Participants traveling from the airport to the hotel should budget approximately $65 (current rate for one way) for Taxis and about $30 (current rate for one way) for shuttle service. Some public transportation is available at a much lower rate.

Most of the events will be held in the Hotel. More information will be forthcoming.

If you have any additional questions, please feel free to contact me at: or for local questions, Professor Salvador Mercado at:


On behalf of the 2014 PRSA Biennial Conference Program Committee, we look forward to seeing you in Denver!


Please review and Click on the CVent link below to register and submit proposed panels and papers.

Boricuas / Latin@s in Global Flux: Shifting Spaces of Inflection

11th Biennial Conference

Call for Papers

Denver, Colorado

23 – 26 October 2014

According to the Census Bureau’s population estimates, as of 1 July 2011, the Latino population of the United States reached 52.0 million, making people of Hispanic origin the country’s largest ethnic or race minority (constituting 16.7 % of the country’s total population). At the same time, more Puerto Ricans are now residing in the Diaspora than in Puerto Rico.

Whereas the majority of Latinos in Colorado are of Mexican descent, Puerto Ricans are the second largest Latino group in the state, and have become increasingly more visible, particularly through a local Taste of Puerto Rico Festival. It is also a known fact that Puerto Rican migration patterns are changing and our population distribution in the United States is being reconfigured. Meanwhile, the political status of Puerto Rico and its relationship with the USA, remains an unresolved and contended matter, even after a fourth referendum on this issue was held in November 2012.

In an environment of perceived increase in political strength and projections for sustained growth in our numbers, Latinos are far from being a homogeneous constituency, and making use/sense of our strengths in organized fashion remains a challenge. Are we really in transition toward a more balanced sharing of power where we may enjoy a more equitable place? If so, how should we negotiate that transition? What can be learned from our experiences in forming alliances across ethnic, racial, national, linguistic differences? What new alliances need to be forged? How do we connect with/to each other? To what extent do we share an identity or have common interests? What is the relative/comparative place of Puerto Ricans within the larger Latino population?

PRSA Conference Themes:

1. Papers, works-in-progress (WIP), workshops or other creative presentations, and panels that connect or contrast Puerto Rican studies to / with other genres of scholarship, including but not limited to the various strands of ethnic studies that critique class, gender, race, sexuality and other categories of social-legal identities and relations.

2. Papers, works-in-progress (WIP), workshops or other creative presentations, and panels that focus on the multiple dimensions of Latina/o identity and its relationship to current legal, economic, social, political and cultural regimes or practices.

3. Papers, works-in-progress (WIP), workshops or other creative presentations, and panels especially salient to Colorado and the Western United States. The U.S. Regional emphasis ensures that the Conference’s geographic rotation will illuminate local issues, helping us understand how local particularities produce (inter)national patterns of privilege and subordination.

4. Papers, works-in-progress (WIP), workshops or other creative presentations, and panels that elucidate cross-group histories or experiences. In this way, each Conference aims to explore not only intra-Latina/o diversities, but also to contextualize Latina/o experience within inter-group frameworks and Euro-Heteropatriarchy. Accordingly, we constantly ask how we can create progressive movements, communities, and coalitions that meaningfully recognize difference.

5. Papers, works-in-progress (WIP), workshops or other creative presentations, and panels that highlight praxis with scholarship that builds on histories and transformative practices of social justice movements.

6. Papers, works-in-progress (WIP), workshops or other creative presentations, and panels that focus on culture broadly conceived, and analyze the varied artistic, musical, literary production of Puerto Ricans and other Latinos in light of the conference themes.

PRSA Pre-Conference Workshops:

The PRSA Pre-Conference Workshops are designed to assist junior faculty and advance graduate students in professional development and career planning, and are tailored to scholars whose research and work projects focus on Puerto Rico, Puerto Ricans and their communities, and Puerto Rican Studies. These will include a workshop on tenure and promotion as well as a discussion of the history of PRSA and its contributions to intellectual life and collaborative community work. Pre-Conference Workshops will take place on Thursday Morning 23 October 2014. More details about the workshops will be forthcoming and posted on the 2014 Biennial PRSA Conference page.

The Host Institutions and Conference Site:

The Puerto Rican Studies Association was founded to help promote scholarship in the field and offer a place for its scholars to come together. The Association meets every year in a different location. PRSA holds a one-day symposium during the month of October on odd years and a biennial conference on even years. We maintain a list-serve for the dissemination of news that may interest to the membership. For more information on the PRSA please visit our website at: We encourage students, scholars, activists, and others with interests in the island and its Diaspora to join and actively participate in the PRSA.

The University of Denver and the Latino Center for Community Engagement and Scholarship (DULCCES) will host the 2014 Biennial Conference. DULCCES is a consortium of interdisciplinary faculty from throughout the university who are committed to placing Denver University at the center of scholarship, teaching, and service related to Latinos in the Rocky Mountain west.

Submission Information:

Proposed submissions are due by 31 January 2014. Please visit the PRSA webpage site for updates and information on the biennial conference:

This year we will be accepting the proposals for individual papers, works-in-progress (WIP), workshops or other creative presentations, and panels. Please visit the following site to submit your proposal: The program committee will only consider proposals submitted by members of the PRSA in good standing (persons who paid the 2013 membership dues). Selected participants will also be required to pay the 2014 membership dues and pre-register in order to appear in the program. Please plan ahead.

For more information, please contact:

For local information, please contact: Professor Salvador Mercado, Department of Languages & Literatures, University of Denver, or (303) 871-2184.

For general PRSA information, please contact: Professor Charles R. Venator-Santiago, Department of Political Science and El Instituto, University of Connecticut, or (860) 486-9052.


20th Anniversary Conference, Oct. 24-28, 2012, University at Albany, State University of New York

During its 2012 biennial conference, PRSA celebrated the 20th Anniversary of its foundation in 1992. This has been a momentous occasion for our association and its members. During the conference, we had many opportunities to take stock of the evolution, both since the 1960s and in more recent years, of the study of Puerto Ricans in Puerto Rico and the Diaspora in the United States, as well as for evaluating the efforts to strengthen and grow PRSA that have been put in place in recent years.

The organization of the 2012 Biennial Conference was in the hands of a remarkably able and experienced Local Organizing Committee (see the members’ list further below), led by PRSA co-founder and past-president Edna Acosta-Belén, one of the leading figures in the development of Puerto Rican Studies in the U.S. since the 1960s.

All events in the conference, from the keynote address to the plenary sessions and panels, took place on the central area of the SUNY-Albany campus, a constellation of adjacent buildings that represent a notable example of high-modernist, post-war architecture.

Coming Soon: Articles and Photos on PRSA’s 2012 Conference

Taking advantage of its active presence in the two leading social–media platforms, Facebook and Twitter, both PRSA and several of its members posted “live” during the 2012 conference several updates, commentary and photos.

In fact, our 2012 conference marked the first time that a PRSA conference was officially reported on “live” on these social–media platforms, an approach that we are committed to continuing during our October 2013 symposium and 2014 biennial conference.

We encourage you to explore this section of our website dedicated to the 2012 Conference. It contains numerous documents and announcements regarding the conference, including a PDF copy of the Final Program, the original Call-for-Papers (both in English and Spanish), the announcements of the competitions for the 2012 PRSA “Frank Bonilla” Book Award and 2012 Ph.D. Dissertation Award, and much more. We will soon publish the citations read by Charles R. Venator–Santiago (University of Connecticut; the current Vice–President and incoming 2013–2014 PRSA President), as chair of the book award committee, as well as by Aldo Lauria–Santiago (Rutgers University), who chaired the dissertation award committee.

PRSA wishes to thank all the members of the University at Albany (SUNY) Local Organizing Committee (LOC), and especially its Chair, Prof. Edna Acosta–Belén, as well as to Marti Dense, Program Administrator of Cornell University’s Latino Studies Program, which hosts PRSA Secretariat, and all the members of PRSA’s Executive Council, for all the hard and effective work they did in planning and executing the organization of what was a very successful conference.

Many thanks also to all the invited speakers at PRSA–sponsored events, particularly to Dr. Arturo Madrid (Trinity University, Texas), for a terrific Keynote Address, to the participants in the very stimulating plenary sessions, to authors who participated in the two special events with writers from the Puerto Rican Diaspora, and to all those who presented papers, and served as panel chairs and discussants. You all helped PRSA greatly towards making this such a successful and rewarding conference.

PRSA 2012 Conference Hosting Committee, University at Albany SUNY:

  • Edna Acosta-Belén, Committee Chair – Distinguished Service Professor of Latin American, Caribbean, U.S. Latinoa and Women’s Studies at the University at Albany, State University of New York (SUNY), and Director of the Center for Latino, Latin American and Caribbean Studies (CELAC).
  • Christine E. Bose – Professor of Stratification and Gender Studies in the Department of Sociology, SUNY, Albany.
  • Pedro Cabán – Professor of Latin American and Caribbean Studies (LACS), SUNY, Albany.
  • José E. Cruz – Associate Professor of Comparative Politics in the Department of Political Sciene, and Director of the New York Latino Research and Resources Network (NYLARNet), SUNY, Albany.
  • Tomás Urayoán Noel – Assistant Professor, English Department, SUNY, Albany.
  • Virginia Sánchez-Korrol – Professor Emerita of the Department of Puerto Rican and Latino Studies at Brooklyn College, City University of New York (CUNY), and Founding President of PRSA (1992-1994)
  • Aida Torres-Horwitt – Lecturer, Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures, SUNY, Albany.
  • Carmen Pérez-Hogan (NYLARNet Board)
  • Librada Pimentel (LACS)
  • Jackie Hayes (NYLARNet and LACS Graduate Student)
  • Carmen Nieves (LACS Graduate Student)
  • Lissette Acosta (LACS Graduate Student)



9th Biennial Conference

Puerto Rican Studies Association (PRSA)
October 21-23, 2010 – Hartford, Connecticut
Sponsored by:
The University of Connecticut
Trinity College
and other local institutions

Conference Theme: Cuerpos vigilados y castigados: Resistance and Empowerment in the Body Rican.Introduction

The 9th Biennial Conference in Hartford represented a timely opportunity for Puerto Rican Studies scholars, community activists, and experts working in applied research and public policy, to exchange research and ideas on the technologies of discipline, repression, containment and normalization, and strategies of resistance and empowerment, of what conference organizers dubbed “the Body-Rican.”

Of all the paradigmatic shifts that took place in the late 20th century across disciplines in the Humanities and Social Sciences, few were more transcendental and groundbreaking than the re-signification of the human body and of discourses and practices centered on it.

2010 Plenary Session: Technologies of Power and Puerto Rican Resistances to Disciplinary Practices

The re-emergence of the body as both an object of study and a prism through which we can examine social structures, imaginaries and experiences, was conditioned by more factors than could be enumerated in a short introduction to the conference archive. Nonetheless, among those factors have been a re-reading of Nietzsche; the latter-day influences of surrealism and phenomenology; the watershed works of Foucault, Lacan, Fanon and Butler, among many others; and the crises of representation and utopian thought that followed the frenetic, yet, for some at least, ultimately disappointing days of that globally mythical 1968.

Reinterpreted through the lens of post-structuralism, feminist thought, queer studies, critical race studies, and post-colonial studies, to name some key theoretical approaches, the research agendas in a variety of disciplines were significantly reformulated across the span of the 1980s and 1990s, a tendency that has intensified since the start of the new millennium.


The conference call for papers attempted to invite responses from scholars whose work had already moved in these directions, especially a younger generation of scholars who emerged since the turn of the 21st century. At the same time, there was an effort to encourage others to rethink how their own perspectives could be enhanced by rethinking the body. PRSA’s leadership proposed a series of themes that the Association’s members could use as validation or inspiration, allowing us a congenial space in which we could present and listen, dialogue and debate, what is particularly relevant for Puerto Rican Studies in the paradigm shift of “the body.”

We encourage you to examine the documents generated for, and after, the 2010 conference, and archived in this subsection of the website.

This is not only an exercise in historical reflection. We could envision ways in which visitors might reflect on how paying attention to the body could be fruitful while continuing to develop their own research agendas, or begin to break ground in other directions.

~The Editor


8th Biennial Conference

Puerto Rican Studies Association
October 1–4, 2008
Centro de Estudios Avanzados de Puerto Rico y el Caribe
San Juan, Puerto Rico

Conference Theme: Cartografías de identidades: Puerto Rico/rriqueños(as) en el siglo XXI / Cartographies of Identities: Puerto Rico(ans) in the 21st CenturyIntroduction

Building upon the successful 2006 Biennial Conference held at Cornell University, PRSA shifted back the setting of its biennial conferences to Puerto Rico, where an earlier successful conference had taken place in 1996.

2008 Conference Poster

The shift of location to Puerto Rico reflected not only the need to provide opportunities for a greater number of island-based scholars to participate as panel organizers, presenters and commentators. It also reflected the fact that many of the dynamics of transnational migration that are such an important focus of scholars working on stateside Puerto Ricans have become more visible and complex on the island, as well.

It is important to remember here that the ten years or so that spanned the period, roughly speaking, between the mid-1960s to mid-1970s represented the one period in the history of Puerto Rican migration in which more Puerto Ricans, on balance, moved back to Puerto Rico. This earlier “return migration” had an enormous impact on island society.

In cultural terms alone, Puerto Ricans from the mainland who resettled in Puerto Rico had a still understudied impact on the island’s language, forms of representation in literature, music and the visual arts; as well as in the complex politics of colonialism and nationalism, both of the political and cultural variety, and in patterns of consumption and the resignification of commodities produced locally or imported.

This pattern of stateside Puerto Rican “return migration,” as it has been generally dubbed, lasted only for a short time in the statistical charts of demographers. However, it was already becoming more profound as a more long-term pattern of circular migration, producing along the way transnational identities and a sense, experiential and ontological, of translocality that came to dominate migrant flows from the 1970s onwards. This pattern became more accentuated in later migration flows at the end of the century, leading to the current, early twenty-first century migratory boom of what some are calling the second great Puerto Rican migration, a new migration boom that emerged in part due to the forced ending of exquisite federal tax privileges and the overall stagnation (and, in many respects, actual decline) of the island’s economy.

These patterns of generally transnational and translocal migratory flows and identities had already set in by the time PRSA was convening scholars to meet in San Juan in 2008.

Prominent in these transnational migration flows (transnational if we consider Puerto Rico a nation without a nation-state) has been the migration to the United States of successive cohorts of aspiring Puerto Rican scholars who, despite their professional stateside location, are primarily, sometimes exclusively, experts working on the politics, literature, arts, historical processes, music and dance, and performance art, to cite only some examples, of Puerto Rico itself.


In this sense, staging the conference in San Juan was also for many U.S.-based Puerto Rican scholars an ideal opportunity to present their latest research to a much broader audience of island-based colleagues.

The emphasis attempted here is on doing away with facile dichotomies that too often characterize certain visions of the relationship between island- and stateside-based scholars.

This is, in many ways, a politics of intellectual space, and in retrospect it is fascinating to reconsider the fact that the 2008 Conference Theme was centered around the topic of social spaces and their representation, on cartographies tied to geographies of materiality and discourse, of discipline and resistance, as well as cartographies as a complex metaphor of conceptualization, representation, hermeneutical maneuvers by intellectuals, and a myriad of social relations and ontological categories of identity that do not escape us by being intellectuals.

We will have much more to say about the emergence of an interest in the study of social space and its representation in future articles that we plan to post in “El Noticiero” blog.

Please make sure that you check the blog from time to time. Better still, subscribe to our RSS feed using the “Subscribe Through RSS” link that appears immediately below the main menu near the top of each page.

~The Editor


7th Biennial Conference

Puerto Rican Studies Association
October 5–8, 2006
Cornell University – Ithaca, New York

Speaking the Unspoken: Race and Its Intersections in Puerto Rican Experience

Dedicated to Prof. Isabelo Zenón Cruz


Poster designed by Juan Sánchez for the 2006 Conference

The 2006 7th Biennial Conference of the Puerto Rican Studies Association (PRSA) represented an important turning point in the Association’s history. First, it allowed PRSA to coordinate more closely the work done by the organizing and program committees, on the one hand, and PRSA’s Secretariat, which had just moved to Cornell University (hosted by its Latino Studies Program) after several years at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Second, staging the Conference at Cornell University allowed us to benefit from very generous in-kind contributions by Cornell that helped strengthen PRSA’s financial outlook.

But from an intellectual perspective, the conference was also particularly important because it succeeded in bringing together a large number of scholars, public policy experts, and graduate students who have been contributing to reshape in almost unprecedented ways how we investigate and interpret the historical and contemporary experiences, practices and discourses of race, racialization, racism and anti-racism in the particular racial formation contexts of Puerto Rico and the Puerto Rican Diaspora in different locales and regions in the United States.

This outpouring of paradigmatically shifting and creatively innovative research projects and (re-)interpretations remind many of us of an earlier era, running from the late 1960s through the end of the 1970s, in which artists, intellectuals and activists, working inside and outside the academy, both on the island and stateside, unleashed multiple challenges to received wisdom and ideologically conservative interpretations of race, racialization, and racism.

Prof. Isabelo Zenón Cruz

It was in this spirit that PRSA’s leadership chose to dedicate the conference to the work and legacies of one of the key intellectual leaders of those head-on challenges to racism: Isabelo Zenón Cruz, formerly professor of Spanish at the Universidad de Puerto Rico in Río Piedras, and author, among other works, of the landmark studyNarciso descubre su trasero: el negro en la cultura puertorriqueña, 2 vols. (Humacao, PR: Editorial Furidi, 1975-76).

Profusely annotated and offering a remarkable amount of evidence from Puerto Rican letters produced over the span of generations, Narciso descubre su traserorepresented one of the most open and extensive indictments of racist discursive practices by the island’s intelligentsia ever written. Innumerable debates ensued after the 2 volumes were published between 1975 and 1976, too often including bitter denunciations of Prof. Zenón Cruz for pointing out and reinterpreting the works of canonical intellectual and artistic figures, including veiled and not-so-veiled expressions of the kind of racism to which Narciso alerted us.

It is not an exaggeration to claim, therefore, that Zenón Cruz’s masterpiece contributed significantly, in its own way, to making the decade of the 1970s a“before and after” in the ways in which Puerto Ricans themselves –and scholars in Puerto Rican Studies– saw how racialization and racism deeply defined Puerto Rican historical and contemporary experiences.

From the new poetry bursting out of the island, Loisaida, and elsewhere; to the Salsa lyrics and notes blasting out of Santurce and the Bronx; to the prose fiction, visual arts, and scholarly works, here and there, being poured out by a new generation of writers, artists and scholars; and to the fierce activism on scores of streets from Chicago to San Antón, the 1970s decade witnessed a myriad efforts to pull off the veils of “racial democracy” and racist paternalism, and to challenge with direct actions and intellectual work deep legacies of racist self-image and subjectification among island and diasporic Boricuas.

~The Editor


6th Biennial Conference

Puerto Rican Studies Association
Graduate Center, City University of New York
October 21–24, 2004
Sponsored by:
Center for Puerto Rican Studies, Hunter College, CUNY
Center for Latin American, Caribbean and Latino Studies (CLACS–CUNY Graduate Center)

Theme: Three Decades of Puerto Rican Studies

Dedicated to Pedro Pietri and Richie Perez

Editor’s Note: What follows was culled from the 2004 Conference Program. You can also view a scanned PDF copy of the entire program in an adjacent page within the 2004 Conference subsection.

Presidential Message

Almost fourteen years ago a few dozen Puerto Rican faculty, students and community activists met in White Plains, New York to discuss setting up a Puerto Rican Studies Professional Association. Félix Matos Rodríguez, the current Director of the Center for Puerto Rican Studies, was at the time working at the Social Science Research Council. He used his influence and considerable diplomatic skills to persuade SSRC to make a substantial contribution to defray the costs of that initial organizational meeting. It was a wise investment, because the Puerto Rican Studies Association has emerged as an important and widely recognized professional association, which every two years convenes the largest gathering in the world of scholars engaged in the study of the Puerto Rican experience. [. . . ]

2004 CUNY-Graduate Center PRSA Conference Program Cover

Puerto Rican Studies as an academic field in U.S. higher education was established over three decades ago. During this formative stage a particularly urgent task was to establish the field’s legitimacy in the university and reconcile this with an activist scholarly agenda that challenged the prevalent modes of knowledge production. Thirty years after Puerto Rican Studies tenuously arrived on the academic scene, the significance of this issue has not abated. In fact, the propitious conditions that gave rise to and sustained Puerto Rican Studies have eroded and provoked debates about its continued validity and relevance in the university. These challenges also present opportunities for mapping out new directions in the field and its relationship to different communities.

Our 2004 Conference will commemorate three decades of Puerto Rican Studies and the pioneering research of the Centro de Estudios Puertorriqueños. But more than a celebration, the conference seeks to provoke a critical stocktaking of the state of the field in the context of the growing salience in academe of interdisciplinary studies. This conference will also provide a forum for retrospective reflection on the institutional development, intellectual maturation, and distinctive challenges that Puerto Rican Studies faces during a period of remarkable change in U.S. society and globally.

Parade Banner – Centro de Estudios Puertorriqueños – Center for Puerto Rican Studies – Hunter College – CUNY

One of the strengths of PRSA is its inclusive character. It is committed to providing the broadest possible venue for the diversity of scholarship, artistic expression and cultural production created by our remarkably productive community. The PRSA conferences promote cross-generational discourse, and are one of the forums for sustained dialogue between scholars in the metropolis and the colony. It is often the first opportunity that many of our young scholars have to test their ideas in a supportive environment. The volume and quantity of innovative scholarship produced by our members defies the still all too pervasive characterization that Puerto Rican Studies scholarship lacks originality, analytical rigor and theoretical sophistication. We should all take pride that PRSA has contributed to this affirmation of the academic significance of the work of its members.

Saludos a todos,

Pedro Cabán
University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign
PRSA President

Conference Program Highlights:Thursday, Oct 21, 6:00–7:30pm

Plenary: Research, Advocacy, and Empowerment: Puerto Ricans in Academia, Public Policy and Politics

  • Moderator: Félix V. Matos-Rodríguez, Centro
  • Marilyn Aguirre-Molina, Columbia University
  • Ricardo Fernández, Lehman College, CUNY
  • Sara Meléndez, George Mason University
  • Janice Petrovich, Ford Foundation
  • Hon. Peter Rivera, New York State Assembly

Friday, October 22

Reception & Special Performance
Nuyorican Poets Café, 236 East 3rd St.

Saturday, Oct 23, 1:00–2:15pm

Keynote Speaker
Ida Castro, Esq., Haywood Burns Chair in Civil Rights
CUNY School of Law
Poshansky Auditorium, CUNY Graduate Center

Saturday, Oct 23, 8:00–9:30pm

Special Performance of “Ay, Jesús” by Pregones Theater Group
Museum of the City of New York
1220 Fifth Avenue at 103rd St.

PRSA Executive Council:

  • Pedro Cabán, President – University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign
  • Edna Acosta-Belén, Past-President – University at Albany, SUNY
  • Vilma Santiago-Irizarry, Vice-President – Cornell University
  • Manuel Frau Ramos, Secretary – University of Massachusetts–Amherst
  • Gladys Jiménez Muñoz, Treasurer – Binghamton University, SUNY
  • Carment T. Whalen – Williams College
  • Yvonne González-Rodríguez – Rowan University
  • Nelia Olivencia – University of Wisconsin-Whitewater
  • Lourdes Torres – DePaul University
  • Deborah Woeckner-Saavedra – University at Albany, SUNY
  • Cristina Pacione-Zayas – University of Illinois-Chicago

PRSA Secretariat [2003-2004]

Center for Democracy in a Multiracial Society
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
David Roediger, Director
Aprel Thomas, Office Manager
Nilufer Smith, Secretary

PRSA Conference Program Committee

  • Félix V. Matos-Rodríguez – Centro
  • Elizabeth García – Hunter College
  • Ivelisse Rosario-Natal – Centro
  • José de Jesús – Centro
  • Teresita Levy – Centro; Laird Bergad – CLACS
  • Frances Aparicio – University of Illinois–Chicago
  • Vilma Santiago-Irizarry – Cornell University
  • Carmen T. Whalen – Williams College
  • Cristina Pacione-Zayas – University of Illinois-Chicago
  • Pedro Cabán, President – University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign

Corporate Sponsors:

Presenting Sponsor: Banco Popular
El DiarioLa Prensa
Washington Mutual
Altria Services Corporation
Hunter College’s President’s Office
City University of New York


The First Decade: 1992-2002

The Puerto Rican Studies Association was founded in 1992 and held its first Biennial Conference two years later. Below is a list of the dates and locations of PRSA’s conferences during the organization’s first decade.

  • Founding Conference: September 18-20, 1992, White Plains, New York
  • 1994 Conference: Waltham, Massachusetts
  • 1996 Conference: San Juan, Puerto Rico
  • 1998 Conference: Brooklyn College, CUNY
  • 2000 Conference: Amherst, Massachusetts
  • 2002 Conference: Chicago, Illinois

One of the aims of this new website is to document the history of the Puerto Rican Studies Association and, more broadly, of the field of Puerto Rican Studies.

If you were part of PRSA’s early leadership, or attended any of these conferences and have copies of documents or photos of the conferences and other PRSA events, please consider sharing those documents and photos with us. We can make arrangements to digitize them for possible inclusion in this website.

Just let us know by sending a message using the form found on the “Contact Us” page, which you can access by using the dynamic menu found near the top of this page.

~The Editor