The Colonial New Deal: Hurricanes, Land Reform, and Organized Labor in Puerto Rico, 1928- 1952


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships


Environmental Studies


In the 1930s, on the heels of a series of hurricanes and a global economic collapse, Puerto Rican and
US reformers collaborated to craft the Puerto Rican New Deal: an economic reconstruction plan to diversify agriculture, redistribute land, reduce chronic poverty, and restore local economic control. This project argues that the Puerto Rican New Deal was propelled and conditioned by a complex network of human and environmental actors: organized workers, the crops they cultivated, the disaster events they confronted, and the political ecologies they helped construct. Drawing from environmental history, political ecology, and disaster studies, this project compels us to reconsider the forces that drive and maintain colonialism and the prospects for subverting them.