In their quest for greater political participation within shifting imperial fields—from Spanish (1850s–1898) to US rule (1898-present)—Puerto Ricans struggled to shape and contain conversations about race. In so doing, they crafted, negotiated, and imposed on others multiple forms of silences while reproducing the idea of a unified, racially mixed, harmonious nation. Hence, both upper and working classes participated, although with different agendas, in the construction of a wide array of silences that together have prevented serious debate about racialized domination. This book explores the ongoing, constant racialization of Puerto Rican workers to explore the 'class-making' of race.
Ileana Rodríguez-Silva is an assistant professor of Latin American and Caribbean History at the University of Washington. Her research focuses on racial identity formation, post-emancipation racial politics, and comparative colonial arrangements in the configuration of empires. She is the author of “Libertos and Libertas in the Construction of the Free Worker in Post Emancipation Puerto Rico” in Gender and Slave Emancipation in the Atlantic World, Pamela Scully and Diana Paton, eds. (2005).