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April 4, 2019 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

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CLACS is proud to present “Innocence Lost”,  by Marie Cruz Soto (NYU Gallatin) as part of the Racisms in Comparative Perspective Working Group.


“Innocent Lost” is the fifth chapter of The Life of Isla Nena: Disposability, Unruliness and the Colonial Order of Things in Vieques, Puerto Rico.  The book manuscript broadly traces the makings of disposability and the efforts to unmake it.  It delves into how islanders have been branded disposable and into how that disposability has hinged on the value assigned by empires to the island over the past five centuries.  The colonial order of things in Vieques has made not only racialized others but disposable ones.  Chapter 5 discusses the entrance of the U.S. Navy into Vieques and the changes it forced upon the island-community.  The 1940s expropriations of three-fourths of the island to make way for the Navy destroyed agricultural activities and broke people’s attachments to land and barrios.  It precipitated a re-articulation of communal bonds and overall politics of belonging.  Furthermore, the arrival of the Navy made the Viequense identity inseparable from the experience of displacement and dispossession.  To be a Viequense after the 1940s has been in many ways to be an expropiada.  But an unruly one.

About Marie Cruz Soto:

Marie Cruz Soto received her Ph.D. in History from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and teaches at the Gallatin School of Individualized Study, New York University.  She is interested in processes of becoming that denote the workings of empires, and in decolonizing struggles to un-become.  Her works focuses on Vieques, Puerto Rico, and explores how colonialism, particularly in its militarized iteration, has impacted the island-community.  She is currently working on a book tentatively titled The Life of Isla Nena: Disposability, Unruliness and the Colonial Order of Things in Vieques, Puerto Rico.  It traces how Viequenses have been branded disposable through a long history of violent imperial interventions.  She argues that the marking of disposability ensures a vulnerable and unruly population.

Cruz Soto is also a peace activist who has participated in Viequense community initiatives, in the organization New York Solidarity with Vieques and in transnational networks of solidarity against U.S. military bases.

About Racisms in Comparative Perspective Working Group:

In this new/old political context, discussions about race and racisms have exploded. Postraciality and the multicultural rights frame are being challenged at the core and more intensely than ever before, glimpses of proto-fascist policies and actions are on the rise.  As a working group which is part of the larger Red de Investigacion Accion Antiracista en las Americas (RAIAR), we want to continue contributing to the debate on how best to fight against this emergent racist/classist backlash. The analysis of race and racism in the Americas being done by our presenters since 2010 when Carmen Medeiros and Pamela Started the started the group.

This event is free and open to the public. ID is required to access the building. The conversation will be held in English.


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