Grant TypePost PhD Research Grant
Institutional AffiliationRutgers U.
Grant numberGr. 9287
Approve DateApril 19, 2016
Project TitleBonilla, Dr. Yarimar, Rutgers U., New Brunswick, NJ - To aid research on 'Puerto Rico's American Dream'
YARIMAR BONILLA, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey, received a grant in April 2016 to aid research on ‘Puerto Rico’s American Dream.’ This project examines the rising popularity and shifting strategies of the Puerto Rican statehood movement, with a focus on how and why annexation has come to be imagined as a form of anti-colonial politics. Over the last several decades, as the territory has experienced an acute economic crisis and historic levels of out-migration, the statehood option has grown in popularity increasingly combining the language and rhetoric of anti-colonialism with a conservative political agenda that stresses the importance of cultural assimilation and individual responsibility in the quest for the American Dream. At a time when globalization and neoliberalism continue to transform the nature of state boundaries along with forms of political identification, this research examines how notions of citizenship and national identity are reimagined within contexts of shifting, disputed, and constrained sovereignty. Utilizing data collected through archival research, participant observation, surveys, focus groups and individual interviews, we ask how and why annexation has come to be understood as a form of decolonization and query the discursive and rhetorical strategies used to sustain an anti-colonialist pro-annexationist stance.