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Alumna explores colonialism in Puerto Rico in aftermath of Maria

Media Contact

Lindsey Hadlock

Rosa Ficek

Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico this past fall, and the slow recovery has left scholars and politicians wondering how to best help. On March 5, Rosa Ficek ’03 will explore colonialism in Puerto Rico after this devastating hurricane in a public lecture, “Infrastructure, Colonialism and the State of Puerto Rico after Maria” at 3:30 p.m. in Room 423 Morrill Hall, that is free and open to the public.

“It is an enormous pleasure to welcome her back to Cornell, especially at this particular juncture when the devastation in Puerto Rico from Hurricane Maria is very much on our minds, and we are hearing the personal stories from the 62 Puerto Rican students we have welcomed to our campus this spring,” said Debra Ann Castillo, director of the Latina/o Studies Program and professor of comparative literature.

Ficek, an associate researcher at the University of Puerto Rico, Cayey, and the Institute of Interdisciplinary Research, studies people’s engagements with the natural and built environment. Her research explores the intersections of mobility, culture and the environment to addresses questions about the colonial status of the environment. Ficek’s current book project addresses border making and unmaking by the Pan American Highway (the 19,000-mile series of roads that connect the Americas) to understand how mobility, culture and the environment intersect.

She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in anthropology and Spanish from Cornell in 2003, where she was involved in Teatrotaller (a Spanish/English theater group), received a Mellon fellowship and wrote her undergraduate honors thesis on the telanovela. She received her Ph.D. from the University of California, Santa Cruz, in anthropology.

Ficek’s talk is a collaboration by the Latina/o Studies Program and the Department of Science and Technology Studies and is co-sponsored by the Department of Anthropology, the American Studies Program, the Society for the Humanities and the Department of Romance Studies.

Anna Carmichael ’18 is a communications assistant in the College of Arts and Sciences.


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