Maria in Context: Puerto Rico, Colonialism, and the US Response

Wednesday, October 4, 2017 - 12:30pm
Event Location: 
Iowa City Public LIbrary
123 S. Linn Street
Iowa City, IA 52240
Puerto Rico nationalism

2017 marks the 100th anniversary of U.S. citizenship for Puerto Rico; however, public responses to the hurricane reveal how little many in the continental U.S. know about their fellow Americans. For historians and scholars, the effects of Hurricane Maria are situated in a long colonial relationship. Join our panelists as they ask:  How does the present catastrophe connect with the early years of U.S. entanglement with Puerto Rico? What are the historical roots of the U.S. response?

In this pop-up OBERMANN CONVERSATION, hear from three scholars of the island, Darrel Wanzer-Serrano (Communication Studies), Alberto Ortiz Diaz (History), and Mariola Espinosa (History) about the storm before the storm. 


Alberto Ortiz Diaz recently earned his PhD in Caribbean and Latin American History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (May 2017). His current book project, Rehabilitating Nations, is about intersections of medicine, belief, and incarceration in the Spanish-speaking Caribbean in the late modern period. He is a Visiting Assistant Professor in the History Department & the Global Health Studies Program.

Darrel Wanzer-Serrano is author of the award-winning book The New York Young Lords and the Struggle for Liberation, and is currently writing a new book examining congressional rhetorics of "possession" vis-a-vis Puerto Rico. He is Associate Professor of Rhetoric & Public Advocacy in the Department of Communication Studies.

Mariola Espinosa is an expert in the history of the Caribbean and Latin America, and the history of medicine and empires. She is Associate Professor of History and Director of the Global Health Studies Program.