Ephemeral Puerto Rican Placemaking in the Rural Midwest
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Lisa Ortiz-Guzmán. (2024). Ephemeral Puerto Rican Placemaking in the Rural Midwest. American Studies, 62(4). https://doi.org/10.1353/fzg0mp60


In this essay, I examine Puerto Rican placemaking from the vantage point of rural-to-rural migration between a central region in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Midwest. I focus on the towns of Jayuya, Puerto Rico, and Rantoul, Ilinois, due to the 2007 labor recruitment that shaped the towns’ future relationality. Specifically, I explore two independent experiences—2007 labor and leisure and 2017 solidarity action posthurricanes and earthquakes in Puerto Rico and Mexico—that show how placemaking can vary between tensions and ties, over time, and by different people experiencing broader ethnoracial dynamics across factories, churches, and social space. Ultimately, I emphasize the hyperlocal Brown and Black experiences in local, rural spaces that form ephemeral, nonrepetitive placemaking practices in which people learn themselves and places anew.

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