Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Pg. 99: José Ramón Sánchez's "Boricua Power"

The current feature at the Page 99 Test: José Ramón Sánchez's Boricua Power: A Political History of Puerto Ricans in the United States.

About the book, from the publisher:
Where does power come from? Why does it sometimes disappear? How do groups, like the Puerto Rican community, become impoverished, lose social influence, and become marginal to the rest of society? How do they turn things around, increase their wealth, and become better able to successfully influence and defend themselves?

Boricua Power explains the creation and loss of power as a product of human efforts to enter, keep or end relationships with others in an attempt to satisfy passions and interests, using a theoretical and historical case study of one community--Puerto Ricans in the United States. Using archival, historical and empirical data, Boricua Power demonstrates that power rose and fell for this community with fluctuations in the passions and interests that defined the relationship between Puerto Ricans and the larger U.S. society.
Among the praise for Boricua Power:
"This study fills an important gap by presenting a cogent and historically rich account of community empowerment in the intellectual tradition of political economy."

"José Sánchez offers a fresh new way of thinking about Puerto Rican politics. Guided by a dynamic and suggestive concept of political power, the author navigates his way deftly through the thickets of volatile debates and controversy in tracking a century-long history of radical class and ethnic speaking-truth-to-power in the Latino vein. Taking us back to the cigar worker strikes before the 1920s, the story of Boricua Power goes on to probe the political scene in the post-World War II era, and then sheds new light on the Young Lords Party and the exciting political watershed of the Sixties and Seventies in New York City. To sidestep the pitfalls of blame-the-victim pathologizing on the one hand, and wishful triumphalism on the other, Sánchez's metaphor of the play of power as dance is fun, convincing, and thoroughly apropos."
—Juan Flores, author of From Bomba to Hip-Hop: Puerto Rican Culture and Latino Identity

"A well-written, historically informed, and original treatment of the Puerto Rican cultural and ethno-class struggle in America. Boricua Power is scholarly yet heartfelt and recommended to anyone interested in ethnicity and social power."
—Michael Parenti, author of The Culture Struggle
Read more about Boricua Power at the NYU Press website.

José Ramón Sánchez is Associate Professor of Political Science and Chair of Urban Studies at Long Island University, Brooklyn. He is also the Chair of the National Institute for Latino Policy.

The Page 99 Test: Boricua Power.

--Marshal Zeringue