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 radical roots of ethnic studies programs, which were an important but under-appreciated outcome of the grassroots racial justice movements of the 1960s. The focus is on the creation of Puerto Rican Studies programs, with some discussion of Chicano Studies and Black Studies programs in the same era.