“From Civil Rights to Human Rights: African American, Puerto Rican, & West Indian Housing Struggles in Hartford County, 1940-2019”

According to UConn today, affordable housing in Connecticut is difficult to find. Associate professor of history and Africana Studies, Fiona Vernal, has developed a housing exhibition in the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center. This exhibit focuses on on the struggles Hartford Country residents face when trying to find affordable housing. The exhibition has examples of emergence of ethnic communities in Hartford that was documented by the Press. The exhibition also includes issues of overcrowded neighborhood and changing of life. The research for the exhibit has given new ideas on how to use information gathered for the project such as how to track African American, Puerto Rican and West Indian communities from their initial settlement in Hartford. The exhibit will be on display in the Dodd Research Center until April 29th to read the article click here

Puerto Rican Studies at UConn

As the successor organization to UConn’s former Institute of Puerto Rican and Latino Studies, El Instituto places Puerto Rico and its diaspora at the center of our teaching mission. We support both undergraduate and Masters level courses and programs of study.
The Institute of Puerto Rican and Latino Studies (IPRLS) was a multipurpose interdisciplinary research and teaching program with a comparative focus on the Puerto Rican, Mexican, and other Latin American origin populations in Connecticut, the northeast, and other regions of the continental United States, as well as in Puerto Rico.

Established in 1994, the Institute’s specific goals were: (1) to promote, sponsor, and promulgate the results of comparative, interdisciplinary research on Puerto Rican and other Latino peoples in the United States, emphasizing Connecticut and the northeastern region; (2) to develop and coordinate a multi- and inter- disciplinary academic program, including an undergraduate concentration (minor), as well as graduate courses, in the field of Puerto Rican and Latino Studies; (3) to promote a more culturally diverse and aware university environment through a colloquia and publications program addressing the diverse contributions of Puerto Ricans and other Latinos to U.S. history, society, and culture; (4) to provide institutional links among Puerto Ricans, other Latinos, and non-Latinos at this University and throughout the state of Connecticut on academic issues related to the Puerto Rican and Latino experience; (5) to produce, diffuse, and promote knowledge and information on public policy issues with special impacts on Puerto Ricans and Latinos; and (6) to foster ties between the University and the external Puerto Rican/Latino community by serving as a resource center for issues affecting that community.

We stand by these aims today. UConn is home to the Secretariat of the Puerto Rican Studies Association and El Instituto supports research on the politics, culture, history and society of the island and its diaspora. Connecticut’s storied place in the Puerto Rican diaspora and its vibrant Boricua communities of today are the cornerstones of our commitments to making diverse voices from the island heard at UConn and sponsoring research and information sharing aimed at preserving the Puerto Rican heritage and advancing Puerto Ricans’ well-being in Connecticut and nationwide.
We welcome students in pursuing coursework and research specific to Puerto Rican lives. The following Puerto Rico-relevant courses may be taken as part of UConn’s minor in Latina/o Studies or major in Latina/o and Latin American Studies:

• LLAS 1190 Introduction to Latin America and the Caribbean (Also offered as Hist 1600)
• LLAS 1190/W Introduction to Latin America and the Caribbean
• LLAS 2474 Economic development in Latin American and the Caribbean (Also offered as Econ 2474)
• LLAS 3029 The Caribbean (Also offered as Anth 3029)
• LLAS 3211 Puerto Rican/ Latino studies research
• LLAS 3241 Latin American Minorities in the United States
• LLAS 3265 Literature of Puerto Rico and the Spanish Caribbean
• LLAS 3270 Latino Political Behavior
• LLAS 3327 Power and health in Latin america and the Caribbean
• LLAS 3619/W History of the Caribbean (Also offered as Hist 3619/W)
• LLAS 3667 Puerto Rican politics and culture (Also offered as Pols 3667)
• HIST 3620 Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Spanish Caribbean (Also offered as AFRA 3620)
• Afra 3619 History of the Caribbean

Racial Literacy as a Curricular Requirement

Writer and Associate Professor at the University of Connecticut, Daisy Reyes, was featured on insidehighered.com, for her book “Learning to be Latino”, in which Reyes advocates for a core curriculum diversity requirement in universities to create racially literate individuals. We are very proud to have her as part of our faculty at El Instituto. Click the link here to view the rest of her article.

2019 UConn Migrant Farm Worker Clinic Fellowship

2019 UConn Migrant Farm Worker Clinic Fellowship

Sponsored by the UConn Honors Program, El Instituto: Latina/o, Caribbean & Latin American Studies Institute, CT Area Health Education Center & the UConn Migrant Farm Worker Clinic

The UConn Migrant Farm Worker Clinic fellowship is a competitive award that allows students with an interest in migration studies and/or medicine to spend part of the summer working with a team of UConn medical professionals to provide services to migrant farmworkers. It includes direct service as well as the opportunity to assist in a research study. Honors students who speak Spanish and whose undergraduate research would be enhanced by work with migrant populations will be given preference.


This fellowship is complemented by an internship that allows the fellow to train for the clinic in the late spring, and contribute to the fall course LLAS/HIST 1570 Migrant Workers. The fellowship during the summer comes with a stipend of $1,000 to cover traveling expenses. For more detailed information, please see


Deadline for letter of interest: Friday, March 15th, 2019 to anne.gebelein@uconn.edu

New Joint MA Program in Latina/o Studies + Public Policy or Public Administration

In January 2019, El Instituto and the Department of Public Policy (DPP) debuted two new joint Masters degree programs in Public Administration (MPA) and Latina/o & Latin American Studies and Public Policy (MPP) and Latina/o & Latin American Studies.

The objective of the joint MPA/MPP and Latina/o & Latin American Studies degree programs is to prepare students with functional skills and knowledge in public administration and public policy and at the same time engage them in interdisciplinary study and in-depth research related to Latina/o, Caribbean, and Latin American worlds.

These joint Masters degree programs permit students to complete the requirements for the two MAs in three years rather than the four years it would take to complete both degrees separately.

Exciting research opportunities are available for students in this program to devise their own studies and contribute to UConn faculty research into the status of Latinx and Latin American populations. Our aim is to graduate Latinx and Latin American community-serving applied researchers, who are endowed with both the analytic and intercultural/international skills to address the information needs of policymakers, social service providers, and intergovernmental and non-governmental human development and social justice organizations.

If you are interested in applying for one of these joint Masters degree programs, you need to apply to, and be accepted to, both El Instituto’s and DPP’s graduate programs. Graduate stipends and tuition waivers from El Instituto are competitively available to students admitted to our International Studies MA with a concentration in Latina/o and Latin American Studies. Support through El Instituto is also competitively available for exploratory field research (typically done in the summer after year one in the Latina/o and Latin American Studies program). In year three of the program, DPP offers funding for students to do internships with employers in their preferred public administration or public policy area of specialization.

For more information please write to El Instituto: elinstituto@uconn.edu, or the Department of Public Policy: dpp@uconn.edu.

Library Notes

Happy New Year to all of you!


Last fall, I attended the International Book Fair in Guadalajara, Mexico, La FIL as it is known to
the locals. From November 30 th  to December 8 th , 2018, thousands of people congregated at the
Guadalajara Convention Center to see and to be seen at the greatest book fair in Latin America.

This year Portugal was the Guest of Honor of the fair and the Portuguese language was
featured prominently across the many stands in the Mexico area. Two great additions to this
year’s fair were non-traditional displays of
comics and graphic novels and even things
gastronomical, featuring pre-Hispanic and
contemporary Mexican cuisine as well as talks,
demonstrations and tastings: beetles
and chapulines (crickets)!

As always, I make sure to purchase a wide
variety of books from all over Latin America
and the Caribbean, which I hope to showcase
later this semester at one of our HACHA

As always, please feel free to contact me
anytime if you have questions, want to make a consultation appointment or teach a class to your

Happy Spring Semester!
Marisol Ramos, M.A., M.L.I.S.
Humanities and Social Sciences Librarian

PRSA Conference

Contributed by Felix Padilla-Carbonell

The Puerto Rican Studies Association (PRSA) met at Rutgers University for its 13 th biennial
conference, 25-28 October 2018. This was the first PRSA conference to meet since Hurricane
María devastated the island. The conference theme was “Navigating Insecurity: Crisis, Power,
and Protest in Puerto Rican Communities.” Attendance, of academics, scholars, and activists,
from the island as well as the mainland, was the largest ever for a PRSA conference. Among
many outstanding panels, conference highlights included the pre-conference graduate student
mentoring workshop and the opening plenary, “Anthropological Perspectives on Colonialism,
Economic Crisis, and Disaster in Puerto Rico.” A public panel, “The Myth of Freely Chosen
Status: What the Historical Record Shows about Government Persecution of Puerto Rico’s
Independence Movement,” was moderated by Democracy Now! journalist and Rutgers professor,
Juan González, and featured former political prisoner Oscar López Rivera as one of its panelists.
A grassroots activists’ roundtable hosted community organizers from around the island, who led
the hurricane relief and recovery effort and stayed on to help meet people’s chronic needs. El
Instituto is the home of the PRSA Secretariat and we proudly recognize the outstanding work of
our core faculty member, Charles Robert Venator-Santiago, in leading the organization of the

Robert G. Mead Lecture Series with Dean Kevin R. Johnson

Contributed by Rocio Orozco

El Instituto had the privilege to host Kevin Johnson for its annual Robert G. Mead Lecture, 6 November
2018. Johnson, Dean of the UC Davis School of Law and long-time expert on immigration law, delivered
a lecture on “Immigration in a Time of Trump.” He began his lecture expressing his growing concern with
Trump’s lack of commitment to the rule of law in the immigration field. Tweets by the president that are
too racist to put on television and which propose removing birthright citizenship by executive order
contravene laws and norms about how the power of the executive can be rightfully used.
Even when considered within the United States’ long history of excluding immigrants of color, Trump
immigration policies look ugly. Johnson’s lecture covered several Trump immigration decisions with racial

The Travel Ban: A poorly written executive order that prevented Muslims from entering the country. The
first time it was struck down by the courts because it was not specific or had exceptions and created
chaos. The second attempt was also struck down in part because of Trump’s campaign comments
against Muslims. The third attempt was accepted by the courts because it was narrower and more
carefully written. Johnson stressed that all this was the administration’s attempt to push the envelope and
see what it can get away with.

Immigration Limitation/Refugee Limitations: Trump has criticized “chain migration,” a misinformed view
that existing, and highly restrictive and slow-moving family reunification provisions constitute an open
door for legal immigrants to bring unlimited numbers of their relatives into the country. Limited and slow-
moving as family preferences are, the Trump admiration is taking serious steps to change the racial
demographic of this nation by doing away with family preferences entirely and limiting the number of visas
allowed to immigrants from certain “s***hole” countries. Notable also is that Trump began his campaign
by stating Mexicans were criminals and rapists and Salvadorians were MS-13 members.
Social Services: The administration wants to make it more difficult to receive citizenship if you have ever
received social security benefits, even if your child is a U.S. citizen.

Zero-Tolerance: The most extreme measure this policy is taking is family separation, by which adult
Central American asylum seekers are jailed, leading to separation and detention of their children in
separate facilities. Johnson pointed out that there are other options instead of detention.
Attacking Sanctuary Cities: Jeff Sessions sued the state of California for not complying with federal law
requiring the cooperation of local law enforcers with ICE. States protecting their local autonomy are
fighting back. For example, the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) wants to remain separate from
federal immigration enforcement and not ask the immigration status of victims, because they need their
cooperation in fighting crime.

Ending Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA): A policy that provided relief from deportation and
work eligibility for 800,000. The majority who benefited from this program are from El Salvador, Mexico,
and Guatemala.

Ending Temporary Protection Status (TPS): TPS allows temporary protection from deportation to out-of-
status migrants from specific countries that were recovering from natural disasters and armed conflict.
The administration wants to end TPS for El Salvador, Honduras, Haiti, Nicaragua and Sudan.
Expanded Removals: The Obama administration deported record numbers of immigrants while also
seeking to prioritize recent border crossers and non-citizens with serious criminal records. It exercised
discretion to let immigrants stay who had been in the country for several years and had strong family and
community ties. The Trump administration has moved toward deporting any out-of-status immigrant,
regardless of their legal records or family ties.

The question and answer period following Dean Johnson’s talk focused on relief through the courts,
questions of racial injustice, activist strategies and sources of hope for a most just future.

Tinker Spotlight

Contributed by Ari Romano-Verthelyi

tinker spotlight

In the U.S., Latino children are more likely than non-minority children to have unmet mental health needs. In order to understand and promote Latino families’ treatment engagement, several studies have
examined the contribution of socio-cultural factors, identifying stigma as a key barrier. However, the term “Latino” encapsulates different national origins, which may differ in their attitudes towards mental health services. Indeed, Diguini, Jones, and Camic (2013) found that in Argentina perceived social stigma does not influence service-seeking behavior, and that Argentines hold fewer stigmas about seeking treatment than Americans. Other studies have echoed these findings, and added that neither financial status nor emigration affects stigma’s reduced impact on Argentines.

Thus, Argentina appears to be a country with low mental health stigma, the most psychologists per capita in the world, and yet still many of the same core cultural values as other Latin American countries. In light of this, greater understanding of Argentina’s mental health care culture, particularly in relation to recognition, referral, and treatment, could inform strategies for engaging Latino families from other nationalities in treatment. In particular, specific focus on the culture as it relates to the two most commonly-referred childhood disorders, Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) and Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), may be especially informative as their prevalence has been found to be consistent across countries.

Unfortunately, few have examined this. Thus, the purpose of this phenomenological qualitative study was to explore Argentine professionals’ conceptualizations of the etiology, identification, and treatment of ODD and ADHD, as well as their consideration of socio-cultural factors such as stigma that might act as barriers and/or facilitators to care. Thus, twenty-five Argentine teachers, pediatricians, and mental health providers with experience working with children and adolescents were recruited as participants using the snowball sampling method. Data collection took place in Buenos Aires, Argentina in the summer of 2018. In order to explore themes that might not be reflected in established questionnaires, open-ended questions were asked in an audio-taped, semi-structured interview. Interviews are currently in the process of being transcribed, translated, entered into a qualitative data analysis package (NVivo 12; QSR International, 2010), analyzed using a constant comparison analytic strategy, and developed into a codebook.

Prior to commencing this project, my experiences with research occurred primarily in the context of other scientists’ projects: I collected data from participants in both English and Spanish, coded qualitative portions, conducted analyses on quantitative portions, and presented posters at conferences. Support from the Tinker Foundation gave me the incredible, invaluable opportunity of designing and leading my own investigation. Already I have gained experience writing up and obtaining IRB approval, successfully applying for additional funding from the J. Conrad Schwarz and Carolina Herfkens Fellowship, recruiting participants, and supervising undergraduate research assistants. I have learned that leading an investigation requires a great deal of patience and flexibility, whether you’re waiting to hear back from the IRB or trying to see if a participant can squeeze you in to her busy schedule. Yet, nonetheless, being at the helm of your own study is also exhilaratingly satisfying. I flew back from Buenos Aires with twenty-five signed consent forms, twenty-five encrypted audio files, and an immense pride in my hard work. I hope to share my findings both as a peer-reviewed journal article and as a poster at the Society for Research inChild Development’s Biennial Conference in March of 2019. Furthermore, I will be applying for additional funding to further explore commonalities and differences between the values and characteristics described by the target population in Argentina and their colleagues in the United States, thus paving the road for future research aimed to improve service access and utilization for Latino communities in the United States.