Between Gainesville and San Juan: A Title VI Collaboration with the University of Puerto Rico

The Center for Latin American Studies continues to expand collaborations with the University of Puerto Rico.

Between Gainesville and San Juan: A Title VI Collaboration with the University of Puerto Rico

May 16, 2019 - Dr. Lenny A. Ureña Valerio | Dr. Lillian Guerra (front, second from right) with UPR Río Piedras students

The new Title VI cycle has given us the opportunity to expand collaborations with the University of Puerto Rico (UPR) and to support their community through curriculum and professional development, events on the Río Piedras campus, and intensive Portuguese training for students. Besides helping with capacity building and the internationalization of UPR curriculum as the university faces budgetary cuts and impacts of the economic crisis in Puerto Rico, we hope that this outreach collaboration will result in more intellectual exchanges and academic partnerships between UF and UPR faculty and students.

Early this year, the Center for Latin American Studies (LAS) sponsored the participation of Don E. Walicek (UPR Professor of English and Linguistics), an expert in Creole languages and Caribbean history, at a workshop on the “Digitizing the Americas: Exploring Cuba through Miami, Media and Technology,” hosted by the Kimberly Green Latin American and Caribbean Center at Florida International University. The Center also co-sponsored with The Ohio State University, the participation of Rosadel Santos Flores (UPR Librarian, Biblioteca José M. Lázaro) in the same event. The FIU event introduced faculty, librarians, and administrators from minority-serving institutions to best practices in digitization, digital humanities, and special collections through the exploration of Cuban sources.

Guerra UPR

With the collaboration of UPR History Department and the Centro de Investigaciones Históricas, LAS organized the visit at UPR of Kirsten Weld (John L. Loeb Associate Professor of the Social Sciences at Harvard University) on March 28-29. Weld gave a public talk on “Archive Wars: Memory, Mobilization, and Justice in Postwar Guatemala” and a workshop on “Legacies of the Spanish Civil War in Latin America.” These events were recorded and will be available to the public on the Center’s YouTube channel. LAS also helped the UF Center for European Studies to organize the visit of Enzo Traverso (Susan and Barton Winokur Professor in the Humanities at Cornell University) who visited UPR in early May to give a public talk on “The Locomotive of History: Rethinking Revolution in Modern Europe” and a panel discussion on “Postfacism: The New European Right in Historical Perspective” with Carlos Pabón (UPR History) and Marcelo Luzzi (UPR History).

This spring semester, Professor Lillian Guerra (UF History/LAS) taught a mini-course on “The Cuban Revolution from Within” at UPR Río Piedras campus. The one-credit course, co-sponsored by New York University, met for fifteen hours at the end of April and beginning of May and enrolled four graduate students and two advanced undergraduate students. According to Lillian Guerra, “The opportunity to teach a graduate seminar on the Cuban Revolution at the University of Puerto Rico was one I could not miss! Because we have a small program of current doctoral students specializing in the Caribbean, such a specialized course on UF's campus would be next to impossible. Teaching it here [in Puerto Rico] provides a rich and extraordinary change of perspective on this history for all involved, myself included, since the Cuban Revolution had a direct impact on virtually every aspect of Puerto Rico's political and cultural life since 1959.”
She recommended expanding the collaboration to include UF students in future UPR mini-courses so they can be immersed in the culture and have the chance to discuss English and Spanish-language sources with Puerto Rican peers in a Caribbean context. The UPR students who participated in the course enjoyed Guerra’s course, the variety of sources she exposed students to and the quality of her lectures and discussion sessions.

UPR students also participated in our Summer Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) fellowship competition. Two students majoring in Portuguese and Modern Foreign Languages received FLAS funding from our Center to attend the UF in Rio de Janeiro Language and Culture program held in July/August 2019. The students will join UF students and spend six weeks in Brazil learning intermediate/advanced Portuguese skills.

For more information about the collaboration, contact Dr. Lenny A. Ureña Valerio (

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