Rutgers University | Department of Latino & Caribbean Studies
Senior Research Seminar: Puerto Rican History, Culture, and Politics
LHCS 01:594:497 | Fall 2015 | Wednesdays 9:50-12:35 | LHCS library
Prof. Yarimar Bonilla  – yarimar.bonilla@rutgers.edu

Course Description
In this upper-level seminar students will form part of a research team, led by the professor, which will examine questions of sovereignty in the Caribbean. In the first weeks of the course the class will meet to discuss common readings, create a shared bibliography, and develop a research plan. During the latter part of the course students will work individually on pieces of a larger interdisciplinary multi-media project. Guided by their own individual strengths and interests, while still forming part of a structured group project, students will explore how questions of sovereignty can be examined through historical materials, scholarly literature, literary production, film, music, and visual arts. Over the course of the semester they will learn how to organize a research project, conduct library and web-based research, analyze primary and secondary sources, and share their findings with a broad audience through digital platforms. The final product for the class will be a group blog featuring the work produced by the team over the course of the semester.

For the Fall 2015 semester the focus of the course will be on Puerto Rican History, Culture, and Politics. As an unincorporated territory of the United States, Puerto Rico poses a unique site for thinking about Caribbean political possibilities. In the summer of 2015 the governor of the island declared that the territory was enmeshed in a historic debt crisis. In the wake of his announcement many have been asking how the island’s history and unique political status have contributed to its current crisis. The semester will begin with common readings and close analysis of media coverage. The professor will identify key sources, but students will be expected to do research independently and produce a common bibliography. One third of the way through the semester students will pick a topic and begin working independently on their research, as the semester progresses they will complete periodic assignments to expand their project. The final product will be a group site featuring all student work.