Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name





Héctor R. Cordero-Guzmán

Committee Members

James M. Jasper

Stephen Brier

Subject Categories

Educational Sociology | Ethnic Studies | Latina/o Studies | Politics and Social Change | Race and Ethnicity | Race, Ethnicity and Post-Colonial Studies


Puerto Ricans, Social Movements, Collective Identity, Anti-imperialism, Decolonial Education


Student movements have been and continue to be major catalysts for social change. The Puerto Rican student movement at The City University of New York (CUNY) during the late 1960s and early 1970s played a central role in desegregating CUNY—the largest urban university system in the United States—and establishing Black and Puerto Rican studies departments throughout the CUNY system. Student-activists also agitated for participatory democracy and community control of university institutions. Despite the movement’s intellectual contributions and its impact on higher education, it has received little scholarly attention. This study helps fill that gap by exploring the movement’s origins and analyzing narratives from key actors. It is based on twenty-four original oral history interviews with former student-activists, faculty members, and administrators who participated in the Puerto Rican student/studies movement between 1968 and 1975, as well as archival data from the Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College, CUNY. Drawing from social movement, collective identity, and decolonial theory, I argue that the movement for Puerto Rican studies was closely connected to the larger Puerto Rican national liberation movement and that it provides insight into the nature of decolonial education.

This work is embargoed and will be available for download on Tuesday, September 30, 2025

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