Lecture on Racism and Teaching African Heritage in Puerto Rico


The Institute of Caribbean Studies of the University of Puerto Rico-Río Piedras invites the academic community and the general public to the lecture entitled Arrancando mitos “de raíz”: el racismo anti-negro y la enseñanza de la herencia africana en Puerto Rico [Pulling Myths Out ‘by the Roots’: Anti-Black Racism and Teaching African Heritage in Puerto Rico] by Dr. Isar P. Godreau (Institute of Interdisciplinary Research, University of Puerto Rico-Cayey). Dr. José Alberto Cabán Torres (Department of Social Sciences, University of Puerto Rico-Bayamón) will serve as commentator. The activity will be held on Thursday, October 8, from 1:00 to 3:00pm in Amphitheater CRA 108, Carmen Rivera de Alvarado Building, School of Social Sciences, at the University of Puerto Rico-Río Piedras.

Dr. Godreau will discuss various research methods and interdisciplinary approaches to document, analyze, and counteract manifestations of interpersonal and institutional racism at two elementary schools in Puerto Rico. The documentation used for the study reveals the racial hierarchy implicit in lessons teaching about African Heritage and analyzes implicit or explicit expressions of racism present in textbooks, extracurricular activities, students´ writings, interviews, questionnaires, focus groups, and orientation activities involving parents and teachers. The lecture will also address the need for incorporating multidisciplinary viewpoints into the development of concrete strategies for dealing with the problem. The speaker will also present an introductory section of a guide for an anti-racist approach to teaching African Heritage at the elementary school level.

Isar P. Godreau is the Director of the Institute for Interdisciplinary Research at the University of Puerto Rico-Cayey. She received her Ph.D. in cultural anthropology from the University of California-Santa Cruz. Her research interests include “race,” racism, and identity in Puerto Rico; nationalist discourses in Afro-Latin America and the Caribbean; current uses of history; and racism in elementary schools. She has published articles about race and racism in relationship to hair aesthetics, cultural and housing policies, the use of racial terminology, and education in Puerto Rico.

For information on the conference series, please call 787-764-0000, x-4212 or write to iec@uprrp.edu  or contact Humberto García Muñiz, Director, Instituto de Estudios del Caribe, Universidad de Puerto Rico-Río Piedras, at hgarcia@prw.net

For more information on The Institute of Caribbean Studies, see http://graduados.uprrp.edu/icaribe/

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