Ph.D., University of Wisconsin - Madison, August 1998
M.A., University of Wisconsin - Madison, December 1992
B.A., Queen’s University (cum laude) - Kingston, Ontario, May 1990 - History and Political
Since 2008 I have been researching gender, labor, and politics in Puerto Rico in the
short but pivotal period 1938-40. I am interested in documenting the relationships
Puerto Rican working women, especially in needlework and tobacco processing;
Island political parties, especially the new Popular Democratic Party led by Luis
Muñoz Marín; and
The U.S. federal government, especially through the Fair Labor Standards Act, a key
piece of New Deal legislation.
I have done research in several Puerto Rican archives—in San Juan, Rio Piedras, and
Mayagüez—and in the U.S, at the National Archives in D.C. and New York City, the Center
for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College, and the University of Virginia. I have
presented my findings in Puerto Rico, the U.S., and at the Association of Caribbean
Historians conference in Belize.
"Birth of the U.S. Colonial Minimum Wage: The Struggle over the Fair Labor Standards
Act in Puerto Rico, 1938-1941," Journal of American History 104:3 (December 2017),
656-680 (+ connected podcast).
"Elfreda Reyes" and "Vivian Seay", each a 1000-word entry in Henry Louis Gates Jr.
and Franklin Knight, editors in chief, Dictionary of Caribbean and Afro-Latin American
Biography (Oxford University Press and the W.E.B. DuBois Institute, 2016).
"Doing Comparative Caribbean (Gender) History: Puerto Rican and Belizean Working-Class
Women, 1830s-1930s," Small Axe: A Journal of Caribbean Criticism 43 (March 2014):
“Towards Decolonization: Impulses, Processes, and Consequences,” in Stephan Palmié
and Francisco Scarano, eds. The Caribbean: An Illustrated History (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, forthcoming 2011)
From Colony to Nation: Women Activists and the Gendering of Politics in Belize, 1912-82 (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2007)
"Colonial Matriarchs: Garveyism, Maternalism, and Belize's Black Cross Nurses, 1920-1952,"
Gender and History (November 2003).
Citizens vs. Clients: Workingwomen and Colonial Reform in Puerto Rico and Belize,
1932-1945," Journal of Latin American Studies, vol.35 no.2 (May 2003).
Co-editor with Nancy Applebaum and Karin Rosemblatt, Race and Nation in Modern Latin America, (University of North Carolina Press, 2003.).
"Imagining the Colonial Nation: Gender, Race, and Middle Class Politics in Belize,
1888-98," in above anthology.
“Viragoes, Victims, and Volunteers: Female Creole Political Cultures in 19th-century
Belize,” in Michael D. Phillips, ed. Belize: Selected Proceedings of the Second Interdisciplinary Conference (Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1996).
Editor, Backtalking Belize: Speeches and Writings of Assad Shoman, 1963-1995 (Belize: Angelus Press, 1995).
Participant in roundtable: "Why Caribbean Women's History Matters," American Historical
Association, Atlanta, 7 January 2016.
"'This Law Has Enflamed the Whole Island': The Fair Labor Standards Act in Puerto
Rico, 1938-40," Association of Caribbean Historians 45th Annual Meeting, Belize, 14
"Gringo-Rican? Robert Claiborne's Fight for the Fair Labor Standards Act in Puerto
Rico, 1938-40," (with student Linda Webber), Puerto Rican Studies Association, Albany
NY, 24 October 2012.
Invited Keynote Speaker: "Never a Coward Woman: Women and the Struggle for Belize's
Independence," Belize at Thirty conference, National Institute for Culture and History,
Belize City, 20 March 2012.
"Black Power in Belize: UBAD, Radical Masculinity, and the Enabling of Belizean Feminism,
1968-81," Association for the Study of the Worldwide African Diaspora, 4 November
Invited Talk, "Needleworkers and Tobacco Strippers: Puerto Rican Women Strike Back
During the Great Depression," Caribbean Speaker Series, Buffalo State College, 7 October
"Working-Class Women, Populist Politics and New Deal Reform in Puerto Rico, 1938-40,"
New York State Latin American History Workshop, Binghamton University, 9 April 2011.
Commentator for Panel: "Building and Disciplining the National(ist) Body: Politics,
Puerto Rico, and the Diaspora in the 1950s," Puerto Rican Studies Association, Hartford
CT, 22 October 22, 2010.
“Anti-Colonial Women’s Activism in Belize, 1910s-1950s,” American Historical Association,San Diego CA, 8 January 2010.
“Caribbean Populisms – Gender in Puerto Rican and Belizean Populist Coalitions in
the Mid-Twentieth Century,” Rethinking the Mangrove/Repensando el Manglar: Critical Practices in Caribbean Cultural
Studies, University of Puerto Rico – Mayagüez, 15 October 2009.
“Racial Inclusivity and Exclusivity in Belizean Women’s Politics, 1920s-1950s,” 53rd International Congress of Americanists, Universidad Iberoamericana, Mexico City, 22 July 2009.
Invited Talk, ““Pro-Colonial and Anti-Colonial Women Activists in 20th c. Belize,”
Center for Latino and Latin American Studies and the African Diaspora Department speaker
series, Depaul University, Chicago, 7 May 2009.
Invited Talk, “Doing Comparative Caribbean Women’s History: Belize and Puerto Rico,”
Department of History’s Modern Latin America and Caribbean speaker series, Pennsylvania State University, 15 April 2009.
“Black Power in Belize: UBAD, Radical Masculinity and the Enabling of Belizean Feminism,
1969-80,” Association of Caribbean Historians, Jamaica, 10 May 2007.
“Commerce and Creolization in Havana and San Juan, 1509-1763,” New England Council of Latin American Studies Conference, Middlebury College, 28 October 2006.
Invited talk, "Gender and Decolonization," Caribbean History Speakers Series, University of Toronto, 21 September 2006.
Latin American Studies Association, Dallas, 28 March 2003: "Racialized Constructions
of Nation in the British Caribbean and on Central America's Caribbean Coast," (part
of round table on "Race and Nation in the Modern America's")
Berkshire Conference on Women's History, University of Connecticut at Storrs, 6-9
June 2002: "On the Eve of Nationalism: Gender, Race and Labor in Belize a Century
after Emancipation" (Part of panel titled, "Empire, Freedom, Identity: Gender and
Race in the Modern Caribbean")
Pairing Empires: Britain and America 1857-1947 Conference, Johns Hopkins University,
10-12 November 2000: "Colonial Reform, Colonial Hegemony: Gender and Labor in Belize
and Puerto Rico, 1932-1945"