What does “Boricua” mean?

“Boricua” is the indigenous Taíno name for the archipelago commonly known as “Puerto Rico.” Boricua is often used to denote national pride in the non-Americanized aspects of the archipelago’s various indigenous cultures and communities.


Research Topics

Environmental Colonialism

Boricua has long suffered environmental justices, stemming largely from their coloniality, these have been studied as colonialismo ambiental, or environmental colonialism. Environmental colonialism recognizes the extractivism that has come to define point source pollution across the archipelago initiated by U.S.-based institutions and corporations.

Disaster Colonialism

Boricua lies in one of the most disaster-prone regions of North America, suffering from frequent hurricanes and earthquakes. Recognizing the long history of disaster in the archipelago, colonialismo desastre (or disaster colonialism) is a theory put forth by Rivera (forthcoming) that traces the history of colonial procedures alongside repeatedly-poor disaster response.

Design Futures

Recognizing the issues facing the health and wellbeing of residents, this research works alongside informal Borinquen communities to envision solutions to environmental and disaster colonialisms. These solutions emphasize decolonization and environmental liberation.



Research Assistants

  • Jesus Banuelos-Rivera (2019-present)

  • Allison Aber (2019-present)

  • Bradleigh Jenkins (2018-2019)

  • Rebecca Randolph (2018-2019)


  • ACSP Puerto Rican Special Interest Group (PR-SIG) (Led by Dr. Ivis García)

  • Centros de Apoyo Mutuo (CAMs)