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PRLS 5710 Research Seminar in Puerto Rican & LatinX Studies (Ortíz-Minaya)

Prof.Reynaldo Ortiz-Minaya OER.

Course Information

Official Course Bulletin Description:
Applied research and methodology. Application of advanced course work to address pertinent issues. Research project. Students may take this course at most twice, but may not repeat topics.

Prerequisite: successful completion of PRLS 3340 and an additional six credits in Puerto Rican and Latinx Studies courses.


This is an advanced inter and trans-disciplinary course which has two main objectives. The first is to demonstrate applied research and methodology, through social-historical analysis, to pressing and relevant phenomena of inquiry in Puerto Rican and LatinX Studies. The course is heavily focused on examining pertinent issues as it exists within Puerto Rican and LatinX communities in the United States and in Puerto Rico. Students will engage critical and contextualized analyses within the multi-faceted realities of LatinX population in the United States. The course also seeks to demonstrate the cross-analytical understanding of the various frameworks that can be employed to conduct social analysis (i.e.,, literary, social-historical, and cultural) although the central lens of the course is its social-historical variant.

Puerto Rican and the LatinX population today is in the middle of facing heightened social-economic and political transformation within the nexus of U.S. legislative policy. Since the inception of well over 121 years of US control of Puerto Rico and unwavering immigration of Latin American residents to the United States in search of improved economic conditions, structures of inequality, oppression, and the fusion with processes of racialization form the bedrock of the LatinX reality in the United States. This course seeks to critically problematize the manifestations of such socio-historical processes as embodied within pressing issues within such communities.

However, it is only possible [in 15 weeks] to cover a limited surface/amount of the varied ways to carry out sound and critical research as a means to produce concrete solutions or understanding to reach possible strategies. For this reason, this class only marks an intellectual beginning of your chosen research topic.

The second goal is to improve your skills in critical reading and writing. You will work on understanding and interpreting the materials throughout the course. Intense writing assignments and revisions will provide opportunities to develop your OWN interpretations systematically and polish your analytical and critical thinking skills.

I also encourage you to read, view, and listen to anything you can find that is related to Puerto Rico, LatinXs in the United, Latin America, and the world-economy. Although this is a seminar on research, I expect you to keep up-to-date on current events in Latin America and the world through a daily reading of a major newspaper, such as The New York Times (All CUNY members have free digital access to NY Times. Instructions for signing up for NY Times), and the BBC World News, which is available free of charge on line ( If you read Spanish or Portuguese, check the Americas edition of El Pais, the main Spanish newspaper: ( or: the Brazilian magazine Veja (

Learning Goal 1:

  • Identify an advanced research question produce a research proposal with a hypothesis
  • Identify and evaluate the appropriate methods and methodology for your research question
  • Complete a literature review addressing your chosen theme/question conduct preliminary primary research
  • Write an exploration paper presenting a research question and considering at least 3 different approaches to your research question.

This final project builds on the previous methods discussion papers.

Learning Goal 2:
Develop a critical understanding of multiple perspectives to challenge conventional narratives.

Learning Objective:
Students will understand various research and theoretical frameworks reflecting on their implications and practical consequences for Puerto Rican, Latinx, Caribbean, and/or Latin American Studies.

Learning Goal 3:
Develop an understanding of the dynamics of diversity of research methodology in a globally interdependent and inter-sectional world-economy.

Learning Objective:
Students will articulate the experiences of Latinx/ Puerto Ricans in a trans-national, trans-historical, and trans-disciplinary context.


This class will be operate following the French model of graduate school pedagogy by which readings will be identified in bi-weekly formats but also contingent and determined by the development of the class discussions and exchanges. However, there will also be theoretical, historical, and methodological literature to frame your ongoing intellectual examination of problems presented as currently plaguing the Puerto Rican and LatinX communities in the United States.

As such, all materials will be posted online and/or provided in advance. This however requires you think out of the box! Do not allow your locating of data and research to be bound by convention. Push the boundaries and critically observe the various ways to conduct social research.

To read what is being produced regarding academic research on social sciences in Latin America:

Final Paper Annotated Bibliography (30% of Final Grade)

Due: Tuesday, March 16, 2021.

First part of assignment:

  • You are to submit via Blackboard, a one page essay description of your identified topic.
  • This document is to be single-spaced and succinctly describe your proposed topic of research.

Second part of assignment:

  • You are to submit an Annotated Bibliography of your chosen final research topic.
  • We will carefully review the components of the Annotated Bibliography.

Final Research Paper (40% of Final Grade)
Consists of two parts:

  • Paper 30%
  • Presentation 10%

Research Paper:
You will be responsible to write a 10-15 RESEARCH paper on your chosen topic which will be due: Tuesday, May 11, 2021 at  the beginning of class and on Blackboard. 

You will present your final paper topic twice at the end of the semester.
First time to the Puerto Rican and Latino Studies Department in the PRLS 5710 Student Research Colloquium and the second time to a broader audience of the Brooklyn College academic community. Dates will be announced in advance.

Attendance/Participation (30% of Final Grade)


Participation grades are based on qualitative assessment of YOUR contribution to class discussions. You are expected to come to class having already read assigned course materials for that week and demonstrate familiarity with assigned readings and critical thinking ability.

You will also have several opportunities to participate in other ways, such as through Blackboard

  • Final Paper Annotated Bibliography:  30%
  • Final Research Paper: 40%
    • Paper: 30%
    • Presentation: 10%
  • Participation: 30%

Course Outline

Readings discuss research methods relevant for Latino, Caribbean, Africana, Ethnic and Native American Studies.

Build your OWN personal library. On your own, seek and read scholarship from: Gloria Anzaldúa, Gineta Candelario, Aimé Césaire, Frantz Fanon, María Lugones, Audre Lorde, Silvia Rivera Cusicanqui, Linda Tuhiwai Smith, Cornell West, Barbara Christian and Sylvia Wynter amongst others.

Also, spend critical time reading:

  • Joshua Kopin on Walter Benjamin’s on Violence
  • Ben Weiss on Slavoj Žižek’s theory of Violence
  • Jing Zhai on Jacques Derrida and Deconstruction
  • Charles Stewart on Foucault’s Power, Bodies, and Discipline
  • Juan Carlos de Orellana on Gramsci’s Hegemony
  • Michel Lee on Louis Althusser’s ideas on Interpellation, and the Ideological State Apparatus
  • Katherine Maddox on Ranajit Guha’s ideas about hegemony

CUNY Policies

The Center for Student Disability Services is working remotely at this time.  Please email them at for assistance.

Students should inform the professor if they have a disability or any other situation that may require Section 504/ADA accommodations.  The faculty and staff will attempt to work out whatever arrangements are necessary.

Please provide me with your course accommodation form and discuss your specific accommodation with me as soon as possible to ensure accommodations are met in a timely fashion.

In order to receive academic accommodations students must first be registered with the Center for Student Disability Services. Students who have a documented disability or who suspect that they might have a disability are invited to set up an appointment with the Director of the Center for Student Disability Services, Ms. Valerie Stewart-Lovell or the Assistant Director, Josephine Patterson or their general email

  • The faculty and administration of Brooklyn College support an environment free from cheating and plagiarism.
  • Each student is responsible for being aware of what constitutes cheating and plagiarism and for avoiding both.
  • View complete text of CUNY Academic Integrity Policy and Brooklyn College procedure for policy implementation.
  • If a faculty member suspects a violation of academic integrity and, upon investigation, confirms that violation, or if the student admits the violation, the faculty member must report the violation.
  • Please read the section entitled “Academic Regulations and Procedures” in the Brooklyn College Undergraduate Bulletin or Graduate Bulletin for a complete listing of academic regulations of the College.

Bereavement Policy:

  • Students who experience the death of a loved one must contact the Division of Student Affairs, 2113 Boylan Hall, if they wish to implement either the Standard Bereavement Procedure or the Leave of Absence Bereavement Procedure. The Division of Student Affairs has the right to request a document that verifies the death (e.g., a funeral program or death notice). Contact Email:
  • Typically, this death involves that of a family member, in parallel to the bereavement policy for faculty and staff. However, it is up to the discretion of the Division of Student Affairs to determine if a death outside of the immediate family warrants implementation of the student bereavement policy.
  •  As an option, and in consultation with the Division of Student Affairs, students may take the Leave of Absence Bereavement after the Standard Bereavement.
  • Reference to the Student Bereavement Policies will be noted on course syllabi.
  • Students requesting a religious accommodation should contact the Division of Student Affairs as well. The chief student affairs officer, or a designee, and the student will engage in an interactive process with the goal of finding an acceptable accommodation.

Bereavement Procedure:

  • Upon approval from the Division of Student Affairs, the student is allowed one week, commencing from the day of notification to the Division of Student Affairs, of excused absence.
  • Should the student feel that he/she needs additional days, these should be discussed with individual course instructors and/or the Division of Student Affairs.
  • The Division of Student Affairs will contact the student’s faculty and academic staff of the student’s courses.
  • Faculty and academic staff will be advised that extensions must be granted to the student for the period of one week of excused absence.
  • Further extensions may be negotiated with the student when he or she returns to campus.
  • Students are encouraged to discuss options with their instructors.

Leave of Absence Bereavement Procedure:

  • Students may be allowed to withdraw from the semester in which the death occurs.
  • The Bereavement Leave of Absence is for one semester only.
  • Students who have opted to take the Bereavement Leave of Absence and have already attended classes for the semester of the leave will be allowed to re-enter the following semester without having to reapply to the college.
  • Students who wish to take the leave of absence prior to the beginning of the semester will be required to reapply for the following semester.
  • Students who are in good academic standing will be given the opportunity to successfully complete the credits for the semester in which they return.
  • Students will consult with the Division of Student Affairs, on a case-by-case basis, as to whether they should withdraw from their courses during this leave of absence or to request incompletes from the faculty member.
  •  Given that there may be a potential impact on financial aid, students who receive financial aid and who take the Bereavement Leave of Absence, upon arrangement with the Division of Student Affairs, will meet with a financial aid adviser prior to taking this option.
  • The New York State Education Law provides that no student shall be expelled or refused admission to an institution of higher education because he or she is unable to attend classes or participate in examinations or study or work requirements on any particular day or days because of religious beliefs.
  • Students who are unable to attend classes on a particular day or days because of religious beliefs will be excused from any examination or study or work requirements.
  • Faculty must make good-faith efforts to provide students absent from class because of religious beliefs equivalent opportunities to make up the work missed; no additional fees may be charged for this consideration.
  • If classes, examinations, or study or work requirements occur on Friday after 4 p.m. or on Saturday, similar or makeup classes, examinations, or study or work requirements will be made available on other days, where possible and practical.
  • The faculty and the administration will not allow any adverse or prejudicial effects to accrue to students availing themselves of this regulation.
  • If students have complaints about the application of this policy, they are entitled to bring action or a proceeding for enforcement of their rights in the Supreme Court of Kings County
Number-letter grade equivalents
Numerical grade Letter Grade
97-100 A+
93-96.9 A
90-92.9 A-
87-89.9 B+
83-86.9 B
80-82.9 B-
77-79.9 C+
73-76.9 C
70-72.9 C-
67-69.9 D+
63-66.9 D
60-62.9 D-
Below 60 F