Mainland Passage: The Cultural Anomaly of Puerto Rico

One-third of the population of Puerto Rico moved to New York City during the mid-twentieth century. Since this massive migration, Puerto Rican literature and culture have grappled with an essential change in self-perception. Mainland Passage examines the history of that transformation, the political struggle over its representation, and the ways it has been imagined in Puerto Rico and in the work of Latina/o fiction writers. Ramon E. Soto-Crespo argues that the most significant consequence of this migration is the creation of a cultural and political borderland state. He intervenes in the Puerto Rico status debate to show that the two most discussed options-Puerto Rico's becoming either a fully federated state of the United States or an independent nation-represent false alternatives, and he forcefully reasons that Puerto Rico should be recognized as an anomalous political entity that does not conform to categories of political belonging. Investigating a fundamental shift in the way Puerto Rican writers, politicians, and scholars have imagined their cultural identity, Mainland Passage demonstrates that Puerto Rico's commonwealth status exemplifies a counterhegemonic logic and introduces a vital new approach to understanding Puerto Rican culture and history. An extraordinarily effective and persuasive synthesis of political theory, historical exposition, and cultural analysis that does real justice to a topic of daunting complexity. Ramon Soto-Crespo's readings strike me as some of the best work being done now in US Latino literary criticism. -Ricardo L. Ortiz, Georgetown University Mainland Passage is a provocative intervention into some of the most intractable problems in Puerto Rican studies. -The Americas