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The Puerto Rican Nation on the Move

Identities on the Island and in the United States

By Jorge Duany

368 pp., 6 x 9, 29 illus., 10 tables, notes, bibl., index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8078-5372-6
    Published: September 2002
  • eBook ISBN: 978-0-8078-6147-9
    Published: October 2003

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Awards & distinctions

A Book That Left a Mark on the Decade, El Nuevo Día

A Best Book of 2002, El Nuevo Día

Puerto Ricans maintain a vibrant identity that bridges two very different places--the island of Puerto Rico and the U.S. mainland. Whether they live on the island, in the States, or divide time between the two, most imagine Puerto Rico as a separate nation and view themselves primarily as Puerto Rican. At the same time, Puerto Ricans have been U.S. citizens since 1917, and Puerto Rico has been a U.S. commonwealth since 1952.

Jorge Duany uses previously untapped primary sources to bring new insights to questions of Puerto Rican identity, nationalism, and migration. Drawing a distinction between political and cultural nationalism, Duany argues that the Puerto Rican "nation" must be understood as a new kind of translocal entity with deep cultural continuities. He documents a strong sharing of culture between island and mainland, with diasporic communities tightly linked to island life by a steady circular migration. Duany explores the Puerto Rican sense of nationhood by looking at cultural representations produced by Puerto Ricans and considering how others--American anthropologists, photographers, and museum curators, for example--have represented the nation. His sources of information include ethnographic fieldwork, archival research, interviews, surveys, censuses, newspaper articles, personal documents, and literary texts.

About the Author

Jorge Duany is professor of anthropology at the University of Puerto Rico in Rio Piedras and coauthor of Cubans in Puerto Rico: Ethnic Economy and Cultural Identity. He has held teaching and research appointments in the United States, most recently as a visiting professor at the University of Michigan.
For more information about Jorge Duany, visit the Author Page.

Reviews

"An intelligent theoretical comprehension."--IBEROAMERICANA/NOTAS

"Marks a significant contribution to Puerto Rican cultural and historical studies by bringing together--in an admirably coherent articulation--many of the changing conceptions of Puerto Rican identity as they have been brewing with increasing boldness over the course of several decades."--Juan Flores, Diálogo

"The Puerto Rican Nation on the Move is an engaging, thought-provoking and comprehensive examination of the meaning of nationhood through multiple representations of Puerto Rican identity throughout the last century. . . . A rich analysis of the constructions and transformations enveloping Puerto Rican identity since US colonization of the island in 1898. . . . Writing in a clear and concise manner, Duany's work greatly enhances our understanding of how identities evolve and are transformed, not a simple task given the political, cultural and demographic complexities surrounding the Puerto Rican case. . . . An important and timely contribution to the field of Puerto Rican and Latino studies specifically, and immigration and transnational studies generally."--Latino Studies

"A compelling, imaginative, and nicely written work, sure to provoke thought and arguments."--Choice

"A riveting blend of ethnographic fieldwork, archival research, surveys, censuses, personal documents, interviews, newspaper articles, museum displays, photographic collections, and literary texts. . . . A significant contribution to the growing literature about national identities."--South Eastern Latin Americanist

"Jorge Duany's wonderful book. . . . Will become essential reading for scholars interested in Puerto Rican (and Caribbean) identity, nationalism and transnationalism, colonial and postcolonial representation, and race in Puerto Rico and Latin America."--Caribbean Studies