Diaspora writers affirm their “puertorriqueñidad” while reaviling transnational influences on Puerto Rican identity
Sánchez Zayas, Roberto C.
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This thesis pertains to a selected group of Puerto Rican diaspora writers revealing transnational influences on Puerto Rican identity through their respective oeuvres. I address certain issues that come as a result of this transnational phenomenon, such as how the island’s criollo intelligentsia protects Puerto Rico’s long-standing cultural nationalism and act as cultural gatekeepers against the Puerto Rican diaspora. The “talk back” from stateside Puerto Ricans toward the criollo intelligentsia concerning Puerto Rican-ness is discussed as a consequence of a majority of Puerto Ricans having to relocate to the U.S. in search of survival and upward mobility. Gender is discussed regarding women’s role as disseminators of transnationalism in Puerto Rican society, pillars of the familial structures, and main players in the work force. The vaivén, as my main theorist Jorge Duany theorizes, is addressed to describe the back and forth traffic of Puerto Ricans from the island to the U.S. since the 1950s. The “in-betweenity” created by the U.S.-imposed colonial status in Puerto Rico is discussed to explain the space in which Puerto Ricans must navigate. Racial heterogeneity is addressed to analyze the complex hybridity that exists within Puerto Rican society and its relationship to socioeconomic issues. The reliance of Puerto Rican identity on markers, such as culture, and not solely on geographical space, birthplace and language is addressed. The 2017 atmospheric event Hurricane María is also noted to provide insight into the new turn the Puerto Rican diaspora is taking demographically. The geopolitical implications of transnationalism for the future of Puerto Rican society are pertinent to an ever-expanding and evolving diaspora.