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The Global School Event Series: Fronteras reimaginadas: Reimagining Borders in Latin(x) America

Wednesday, February 09, 2022
1:00 pm to 3:30 pm

The Global School Event Series 2021-2022 is a public forum highlighting the significant role of The Global School at WPI in addressing global grand challenges. From climate adaptation to new technologies for development, from re-thinking water and energy systems to poetry and place-making, our student projects, faculty research, and community collaborations bring the innovative WPI ethos around the world.

The Global School and Latin American and Caribbean Studies program at WPI presented Fronteras reimaginadas: Reimagining Borders in Latin(x) America, an exploration of relations and associations between the Spanish-speaking Caribbean and the United States. Keynote speakers for this event included Lorgia García Peña, a scholar of racial and national identities and diasporic blackness with a focus on the Dominican Republic, and Noel Quiñones, a Puerto Rican poet based in New York. The session also offered a review of recent innovations in WPI global project program activities in Puerto Rico and Latinx communities in Worcester, and featured presentations from WPI students who are from and have worked in Puerto Rico.

This event is co-sponsored by The Global School and the Latin American and Caribbean Studies program.


Click here to view a recording of the event


1:00 - 1:02 PM Welcome Remarks
Mimi Sheller, Dean, The Global School, WPI
1:02 - 2:00 PM

Keynote Presentations

Moderated by: Aarti Madan, Associate Professor, WPI


The Bronx River Forest

Growing up in the North Bronx, the Bronx River Forest became a refuge for my community, my friends, and my identity to flourish. In my poetry, I will speak on the interconnectedness of Puerto Ricans, queerness, and nature in an effort to expand the parameters of our lived experiences as well as give voice to an often forgotten part of my borough.

Noel Quiñones


Against Death: Black Latina Rebellion in Diasporic Community

Based on seven years of qualitative research in Italy, New York, and the Dominican Republic working with Black Dominican women-led organizations, this presentation engages the intersections of politics, violence, class, race, and migration as they impact Dominicanas’ everyday lives. My research centers the activist and political work of migrant Dominicanas in Italy from the early 1980s to the present in dialogue with the history of Black women’s activism in the transitional years of the post-Trujillo dictatorship in Santo Domingo (1963–1980), particularly through involvement in La UASD and contemporary Dominicanyork cultural productions. The revolutionary anticolonial work of brave Dominicanas from the 1960s to the 80s has not been studied within the context of Black politics and Black freedom. This omission is in part due to the fact that until the late 1990s, the language of liberation among Dominicanas was articulated through class and anti-dictatorship struggles rather than through blackness. Yet, not only did these women understand themselves as Black and part of the African diaspora, as Milagros Ricourt argues, but, as many of the women who shared their stories with me explained, they looked to Black freedom fighters in the United States and elsewhere to shape their political frameworks and aesthetic choices. My intervention translates their struggles to the larger context of global blackness.

Dr. Lorgia García Peña

Respondent: Ángel Rivera, Professor, WPI 

2:00 - 3:00 pm WPI Engagement with Puerto Rico
Moderated by: John Galante, Assistant Professor of Teaching, WPI
  Student Perspective: Joelis Velez Diaz
  Worcester Perspective: Aarti Madan, Associate Professor, WPI
  A Holistic Land Acquisition Process for the Expansion of El Yunque National Forest
Calvin Thomas, Isabella Carrubba Ferrari, Sarah Piela; Justin Riley
  Reimagining the WPI Puerto Rico Project Center
Moderated by: John-Michael Davis, Assistant Teaching Professor, WPI and Scott Jiusto, Associate Professor, WPI

Join project center directors John-Michael Davis and Scott Jiusto in a collaborative workshop as they share their vision for building an “intensive hub” in Puerto Rico and invite feedback and generative ideas from participants.

The Puerto Rico Project Center (PRPC) is one of WPI’s longest continuously operating project centers, having hosted student groups for nearly 30 years. This event will share a new vision for the PRPC to create an “intensive hub” in Puerto Rico that builds upon the center’s long history of excellence in environmental work with relatively well-resourced governmental and non-profit partners and adds a complementary new emphasis on sustainable community development and climate resiliency with smaller, grassroots, community-based organizations. We share strategies and ideas-in-progress to both expand academic experiences for students and enhance our impact in Puerto Rico through productive and supportive collaborations with Puerto Rican communities.
3:00 - 3:30 pm Question and Answer
Moderated by John Galante, Assistant Professor of Teaching, WPI


To view on demand content from last year's Global School Series and the Latin American and Caribbean program, click here

Rachel Roy