Spring 2018, Professor Francisco Soto
Focus: Hispanic/Latino Nueva York

After a careful introduction to New York City’s extensive history as a city of immigrants, the seminar will focus specifically on the Puerto Rican, Dominican, and Cuban immigrant experiences of the twentieth century. While one would expect that immigrants from these Caribbean countries share similar issues and concerns, the course will highlight the diversity of immigrant experiences for these groups, an essential lesson for students as to the complexities and difficulties of immigration. The goal of the course is to show the human face and individual stories of these immigrant groups especially in light of the current political debates taking place in Washington D.C. concerning immigration reform that so often are framed in abstract/general terms.

Throughout the semester students have read, viewed, and critically discussed works that will put into focus the immigrant experiences of Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, and Cubans in New York City. We know that immigration and migration have shaped and continue to shape New York City’s identity, but why have Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, and Cubans chosen and continue to choose NYC as a destination? What factors have driven and continue to draw these people to the city? What similarities and differences exist among these Spanish-speaking communities from the Caribbean? In what ways have their views on religion, race, gender, and ethnicity shaped their immigrant encounters with the city? Specifically, how have these communities succeeded and how have they been challenged? How has the continuing debate over assimilation and the maintaining of one’s cultural diversity evolved over the years for these groups? These and other questions have been discussed throughout the semester.

For their semester-long projects, each student has researched and studied a specific topic/person/event concerning the Puerto Rican Dominican, and Cuban immigrant communities. Each project consists of three unique parts: 1.) an overview of the topic selected and researched, 2.) an in depth study of a particular aspect or issue of the general topic, 3.) a PowerPoint presentation that highlights what was researched and learned and its connection to New York City.

Download the syllabus as a .docx