Seams of Empire: Race and Radicalism in Puerto Rico and the United States
Puerto Rico’s colonial relationship with the United States and its history of intermixture of native, African, and Spanish inhabitants has prompted inconsistent narratives about race and power in the colonial territory. Departing from these accounts, early twentieth-century writers, journalists, and activists scrutinized both Puerto Rico’s and the United States’s institutionalized racism and colonialism in an attempt to spur reform, leaving an archive of oft-overlooked political writings.
In Seams of Empire, Carlos Alamo-Pastrana uses racial imbrication as a framework for reading this archive of little-known Puerto Rican, African American, and white American radicals and progressives, both on the island and the continental United States. By addressing the concealed power relations responsible for national, gendered, and class differences, this method of textual analysis reveals key symbolic and material connections between marginalized groups in both national spaces and traces the complexity of race, racism, and conflict on the edges of empire.
“A significant contribution to the growing scholarship of diasporic studies and multiracial coalitions. Anybody interested in the overlapping histories of antiracist and anticolonial movements should read this book.”―American Historical Review
“A wonderfully balanced account of points of overlap between African American journalists and Puerto Rican activists from 1940 to 1972. The book brings to light connections that have been neglected on both sides of these two fields of cultural studies.”―The Americas
“Reimagines the way race is approached in Puerto Rico and the black diaspora. . . . Insightful, nuanced, and delightfully written.”―Choice
“Establishes a groundbreaking standard for understanding the issues of race, class, gender, and interracial/interethnic coalitions, exemplified as alternative means of fighting against colonialism while articulating a more inclusive national identity narrative. This book is a valuable source for any course on American, Caribbean, Latino, Latin American, and women and gender studies, as well as other related fields.”―Latino Studies
“This timely work highlights how activists and politicians in both spaces understood race, empire, and colonialism in the 20th century. . . . A must-read for scholars of transnational and diaspora history as well as anyone trying to build black and brown alliances in today’s antiracist movements.”―African American Intellectual History Society
About the Author
Carlos Alamo-Pastrana is interim dean of the college and associate professor of sociology and Latin American and Latina/o studies at Vassar College.