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Tuesday, April 24 • 9:40am - 10:00am
La Operación.

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The transition of imperial power to the United States in Puerto Rico transformed sociocultural definitions and ideals of gender, race and family structure. In an effort to implement a model democracy, the United States emphasized the institution of capitalism in which women were expected to be involved in the workforce. The shift of women's labor from the home to a structured work environment was accompanied by a new standard of a nuclear family structure. Women were allocated the responsibility to limit their fertility, and the state further enforced this with a narrative of population control as being beneficial to the well being of families and the economic well being of Puerto Rico. In this framework, imperial values of whiteness and class were implied as markers of responsible motherhood and henceforth womanhood. Sterilization was introduced as a method for population control in the 1930s and gained popularity throughout the twentieth century. To examine the effects of this form of imperialism, this research explores trends of fertility and sterilization rates relative to class and race using secondary analysis of census data and studies on sterilization conducted by state officials, economists and social scientists in various fields. The findings of the research demonstrates the ways in which imperial sociocultural values of race and class impacted the fertility and sterilization rates of demographic groups during the twentieth century.

Tuesday April 24, 2018 9:40am - 10:00am PDT
236 Zageir Hall