Doing Disciplinarity: Puerto Rican Studies is/as/with American Studies (ASA 2012)


American Studies Association, San Juan 2012

(Chair of roundtable)

How do we locate Puerto Rican Studies with regard to American Studies? The (in)famous words from West Side Story: “Nobody knows in America/Puerto Rico’s in America” crystallize a difficulty faced by many scholars of Puerto Rican studies: Are we doing American Studies? Latin American Studies? Latino/a Studies? Or a little bit from all three? The limitations of disciplines have concrete ramifications: it can affect our positioning within departments and even on the job market because it requires us to either include/exclude Puerto Rican literature in/from the canon of American literature. This also poses difficulties for Puerto Rican literature written in Spanish; should Puerto Rican literature written in English be the only Puerto Rican literature included in the American literature classroom? In this roundtable we wish to address how the discipline of American Studies copes with the fact that some Puerto Rican (and hence, American?) literature is written in Spanish and some in English. These conversations will not only expand our understanding of American Studies but also of Puerto Rican Studies from the intersection of language and culture.