Date of Award

Fall 11-17-2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (BA)




Honors College

First Advisor

Maggi Morehouse

Second Advisor

Louis Keiner

Third Advisor

Aneilya Barnes


The Spanish first colonized Puerto Rico in the 16th century. The implementation of slavery shaped cultural traditions, agricultural practices, and established a socio-racial hierarchy. When Puerto Rico was acquired by the United States, legal and economic changes intensified race relations and classism. These global powers established notions of race and ethnicity which continue to dominate diasporic and identity discourse. Nearly a century later, the lasting effects of imperialism have converged with two decades of recurrent calamities, resulting in mass migration off the island and growing Puerto Rican communities within the U.S., notably in New York and Florida. By tracing the roots of racial and ethnic construction and application in Puerto Rico, persisting complexities in identity studies can be best understood. Further, this analysis provides a basis for future intersectional approaches to identity studies that combat negative historical conceptions of race and ethnicity.

Included in

History Commons