Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy




Sandra McGee Deutsch


The following study seeks to understand the process in which language and culture were linked together in order to institutionalize Puerto Rican cultural nationalism. In the decades after 1898, Puerto Ricans went through a U.S.-imposed process of Americanization. What the U.S. originally had in mind was that Puerto Ricans would become American colonial subjects through U.S. control over the curriculum that made English the language of instruction in public schools. With a vague explanation from the U.S. of what Puerto Rico and Puerto Ricans meant to the U.S. American nation, Puerto Ricans from various backgrounds debated Americanization practices. However, after the 1952 constitution that renamed the island el Estado Libre Asociado de Puerto Rico, defenders of this form of autonomous government within the U.S. empire divorced Puerto Rican cultural identity from the political identity that defined them as U.S. citizens.

This dissertation, “Aquí se habla español: Cultural Identity and Language in Post-World War II Puerto Rico,” explains the Puerto Rican identity and the link between culture and language using a borderland framework that defines Puerto Rico as a periphery of the U.S. empire. The evidence considered in this study shows how the government institutions created under Operación Serenidad addressed the importance of protecting the Spanish language, starting in the 1950s and continuing through the 1980s. The most important government institutions implicated in the process of constructing a cultural identity through language were the Departamento de Instrucción Pública (Department of Public Instruction, DIP), its División de Educación de la Comunidad (DivEdCo), and the Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña (Institute of Puerto Rican Culture, ICP).




Received from ProQuest

File Size

225 pages

File Format


Rights Holder

Joanna Marie Camacho Escobar