Puerto Rican Literature

Essay by katib_1980 December 2006

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Puerto Rican adolescents, however, were more likely to characterize females as an innocent virginal population that did need to be protected from sexual activity. According to the young people, the loss of a female's virginity and her subsequent level of sexual activity were a serious and contentious issue. Most young people believed females were more vulnerable to the negative consequences of sexual activity than males.

The anthology opens with two historiographical essays by Félix V. Matos Rodríguez and Altagracia Ortiz. Matos Rodríguez's piece discusses the development of Puerto Rican women's history in the last three decades. It provides a brief account of the main contributions to the field, from its origins under the shadows of the nueva historia on the Island and Puerto Rican studies in the United States, to the recent surge in historical monographs in the 1990s. The essay argues that although much has been accomplished in terms of including women as protagonists in Puerto Rico's history, much remains to be done, particularly in terms of empirical research.

Matos Rodríguez's historiographical essay also serves to contextualize the essays included in this anthology. Ortiz's essay, although more thematically focused, presents a chronological survey of the approaches used in various academic disciplines -- anthropology, sociology, economics, and history -- to discuss twentieth-century Puerto Rican women workers. She uses the transformations in Puerto Rico's colonial economy to show the historical development of scholarly approaches to Puerto Rican women as workers. Drawing from the literature in both Puerto Rico and the United States, Ortiz documents the interconnected nature of capitalism, colonialism, and migration and the effects of these forces upon women.

In their research, Lydia Milagros González and Luisa Hernández Angueira have discovered that this exploitation began almost immediately after the United States occupation and involved the collaboration of national entrepreneurs. (González...