Lorrin Thomas is an associate professor of history at Rutgers University-Camden, where she teaches Latin American and Caribbean history and the comparative history of the Americas. Her research explores ideas about rights and equality in the twentieth-century Americas. Her first book, Puerto Rican Citizen: History and Political Identity in Twentieth-Century New York City (2010), traces the complex meanings of citizenship for colonial migrants in the U.S. metropole. She is currently working on two books: a study of Puerto Rican politics and civil rights in the United States, with Aldo Lauria Santiago, and an examination of the politics of human rights in the Americas in the 1970s.
This lecture explores the colonial origins of Puerto Ricans' U.S. citizenship, and the political meanings and impact of this unique status on migrants themselves and on American society at large.