New Books Network

Robert C. McGreevey

Borderline Citizens

The United States, Puerto Rico, and the Politics of Colonial Migration

Cornell University Press 2018

Mobilities and MethodsNew Books in American StudiesNew Books in Caribbean StudiesNew Books in HistoryNew Books in LawNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books Network June 15, 2020 Steven P. Rodriguez

In Borderline Citizens: The United States, Puerto Rico, and the Politics of Colonial Migration (Cornell University Press 2018), Robert C. McGreevey explores the contested...

In Borderline Citizens: The United States, Puerto Rico, and the Politics of Colonial Migration (Cornell University Press 2018), Robert C. McGreevey explores the contested meaning and limits of citizenship for Puerto Ricans from the late nineteenth century to the late 1930s. This timely monograph brings together legal, cultural, and labour history to understand the complicated ways that Puerto Ricans on the island and on the US mainland challenged racialized notions of fitness for citizenship. The narrative that results from such an approach presents US power as a dynamic, contested, and transnational. This monograph suggests the deep historical resonances between the early history of US formal control of the island and the contemporary second-class status of Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. McGreevey’s monograph will interest scholars of the United States in the world, legal historians, historians of Latin America, and historians of migration.


Steven P. Rodriguez is a PhD candidate in history at Vanderbilt University. His research focuses on the history of Latin American student migration to the United States during the first half of the twentieth century. You can reach him at steven.p.rodriguez@vanderbilt.edu and follow his twitter at @SPatrickRod.