Lucas Ramos '19 to Share Work at Princeton Research Day

April 26, 2018

Plaza Colón and Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria c1898, Mayagüez, Puerto Rico

Photo credit: Herrmann, Karl Stephen (1907), A recent campaign in Puerto Rico by the Independent Regular Brigade under the command of Brig. General Schwan, Boston: E. H. Bacon & Co., LCCN 07028615.

Princeton Research Day 2018

Thursday, May 10

At Princeton Research Day, Luke Ramos '19, a history concentrator, will give a 10-minute talk entitled,"Borinqueña Blanca: A Racialized Revisiting of Puerto Rican Independence through the poetry of Lola Rodríguez de Tió, 1850-1900" at 10:30am in Frist 212. His talk is part of the session "Cultural (Mis)Appropriations," which will be livestreamed.


Activist and poet Lola Rodríguez de Tió held a crucial voice within the body of 19th-century Puerto Rican literature, with a collection of poetry that both encapsulated the fervor and encouraged the fight for Puerto Rican separatism from Spanish rule in the mid-to-late 1800s. Her poetic works, which exhorted fellow Puerto Ricans to take up arms for independence, garnered fame with the publication of her anthem La Borinqueña in 1868. However, her place as a white Spanish Creole complicates what it means for Rodríguez de Tió to incorporate indigenous ancestral imaginings. While the use of these cultural descriptions provided a literary mode for Puerto Ricans to understand themselves, I argue that it was politically strategic as a way to Eurocentrize and “whiten" perceptions of Puerto Rico – to give the island legitimacy in its call for independence. This process removed Rodríguez de Tió and her Spanish Creole contemporaries from their colonial present and made them indigenous themselves. Following her life in three sections (youth, early adulthood, and adulthood), I demonstrate the whitening of landscape as a practice by which Spanish creole elites include themselves in the history of Puerto Rican identity as a way to then legitimize their own independence from Spain, as well as the literal demographic whitening of Cuba and Puerto Rico at the turn of the 20th century.

Princeton Research Day will be held from 10:30am - 5pm at Frist Campus Center. It is free and open to the public. No registration is required. The day will highlight the research and creative endeavors by undergraduates, graduate students, postdoctoral researchers and other nonfaculty researchers. The campuswide event includes research from the natural sciences, social sciences, engineering, the arts and humanities. The program features talks, posters, performances, art exhibitions, demonstrations, digital presentations and an awards ceremony for outstanding contributions.

For more information, visit the Princeton Research Day website.