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 Dr. Macarena Gomez-Barris, Professor and Dean at Pratt Institute of Liberal Arts & Science Dr. Amílcar Antonio Barreto, Professor & Chair of  Cultures, Societies, and Global Studies at Northeastern University.

Dr. Gómez-Barris is a writer and scholar with a focus on environmental themes and decolonial theory and praxis and intersections with queer/trans*feminisms. She is the author of three books, including The Extractive Zone: Social Ecologies, Decolonial Perspectives(Duke University Press 2017, 2017) This book examines five scenes of extractive capitalism in its most destructive form. Beyond the Pink Tide: Art and Political Undercurrents in the Américas (UC Press 2018), a text of critical hope about the role of submerged art and solidarity in troubled times. She is also the author Where Memory Dwells: Culture & State Violence in Chile (2009) and co-editor with Herman Gray of Towards a Sociology of a Trace (2010). She is currently working on a new book. At the Sea’s Edge (Duke University Press), which considers colonial oceanic transits and the generative space between land and sea. Macarena, the Founding Director at Pratt Institute’s Global South Center, is Macarena. www.globalsouthcenter.org. Recent awards include the Pratt Institute Research Recognition Award (2021-2022), University of California, Santa Cruz Distinguished Alumni Award (2021-2022) and the Andy Warhol Curatorial Grant (2022-2233)

She will share a talk titled “Atacama: An Integrated Research Practice,” in which she will reflect on how writing, research, and creative practice come together as a palimpsest of approaches in relation to the particular site of her analysis, the Atacama. What is the role of the human and the non-human in the desert given the colonial context and the ongoing environmental damage, destruction and extractivism?

Dr. Barreto specializes in nationalism and ethnic politics, citizenship and race. His most recent work has been focused on Puerto Rico, and Latinos in America. His most recent books include The Politics of Language: Puerto Rico Revisited (2020) and American Identity in the Age of Obama (2014, co-edited with Richard L. O’Bryant). And among most recent articles are “Bifurcating American Identity: Partisanship, Sexual Orientation, and the 2016 Presidential Election,” Politics, groups and identities (2018, co-authored with Nicholas G. Napolio), “Hierarchies of Belonging: Intersecting Race, Ethnicity, and Territoriality in the Construction of US Citizenship,” Citizenship Studies (2017, co-authored with Kyle Lozano), and “American Identity, Congress and the Puerto Rico Statehood Debate,” Studies in Ethnicity and Nationalism (2016).

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He will share a talk titled “From Puerto Rico to Porto Rico and Back Again: Debating the Worthiness of Racialized Citizens.” This talk will focus on how, after four centuries as a Spanish colony, the government in Madrid was forced to concede Puerto Rico to the United States at the conclusion of the Spanish-American War. The English-language text of the 1898 Treaty of Paris, the accord finalizing that conflict, misspelled the island’s name as Porto Rico. Since the US Senate only ratifies the English-language text of a treaty that error remained entrenched the error in US law and prompted a decades long campaign to restore the territory’s original name. The error was finally rectified in 1932. This incident is more than a comedy of errors. It exposes contradictory interpretations of US citizenship, and the worthiness for different groups of American citizens. Puerto Ricans were naturalized in 1917 and discovered that their statutory citizenship was reduced by their perceived worthiness. And worthiness was a standing limited by their community’s depictions as members of the so-called Spanish race.

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