AfroBoriqua Mothering: Teaching/Learning Blackness in a Bay Area AfroPuerto Rican Community of Practice

Abstract views: 1380 / PDF downloads: 529


  • Krista L Cortes UC Berkeley



Afrolatinidad, blackness, mothering, Puerto Ricans, teaching/learning.


This article puts forth the notion of Afroboriqua mothering to understand the types of conditions that allow communal, proleptic practices of blackness to exist within AfroPuerto Rican communities. Afroboriqua mothering is an act that occurs within a community of practice that queers how we understand mothering through activism that always centers blackness and anti-colonial Puerto Ricanness. Through participant-observation and a series of interviews with members of one AfroPuerto Rican community in Northern California, Afroboriqua mothering surfaced as a way to describe teaching and learning (or teaching/learning) within AfroLatinx multi-generational communities that centers blackness as an ancestral, cooperative, and activist practice.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biography

Krista L Cortes, UC Berkeley

Phd Candidate, UC Berkeley Graduate School of Education


Adefarakan, T. (2011). Re-conceptualizing ‘indigenous’ from anti-colonial and Black feminist theoretical perspectives: Living and imagining indigeneity differently. Counterpoints, 379, 34-52.

Alamo-Pastrana, C. (2009). Con el eco de los barriles: Race, gender and the bomba imaginary in Puerto Rico. Identities: Global Studies in Culture and Power, 16(5), 573-600. DOI:

Arroyo, J. (2010). “Roots” or the virtualities of racial imaginaries in Puerto Rico and the diaspora. Latino Studies, 8(2), 195-219. DOI:

Baralt, G. A. (1981). Esclavos rebeldes conspiraciones y sublevaciones de esclavos en Puerto Rico (1795-1873) [Rebellious slaves conspiracies and uprising of slaves in Puerto Rico (1795-1873)]. Ediciones Huracán.

Beckett, G. H., & Kobayashi, M. (2020). A Meta-study of an Ethnographic Research in a Multicultural and Multilingual Community: Negotiations, Resources, and Dilemmas. American Journal of Qualitative Research, 4(1), 85-106. DOI:

Brah, A. (1996). Cartographies of diaspora: Contesting identities. Routledge.

Brown, J. N. (1998). Black Liverpool, Black America, and the gendering of diasporic space. Cultural Anthropology, 13(3), 291-325. DOI:

Brown, J. N. (2009). Black Europe and the African diaspora: A discourse on location. In D. C. Hine, T. D. Keaton, & S. Small (Eds.), Black Europe and the African diaspora. University of Illinois Press.

Browne, K. (2006). Challenging queer geographies. Antipode, 38(5), 885-893. DOI:

Buchter, J., More, C., Oh-Young, C., & Stringfellow, J. (2020). Disrupting Norms to Increase Diversity of Teacher Candidates: Restraining Forces for Junior Faculty. Journal of Culture and Values in Education, 3(1), 89-103. DOI:

Butler J, (1993). Critically queer. Gay and Lesbian Quarterly, 1(1), 17-32. DOI:

Cartagena, J. (2004). When Bomba becomes the national music of the Puerto Rico nation. Centro Journal, 16(1), 14-35.

Center for Puerto Rican Studies. (2016). Puerto Ricans in California, the United States, and Puerto Rico, 2014. The Center for Puerto Rican Studies Data Sheet.

Cole, M. (1996). Interacting minds in a life-span perspective: A cultural-historical approach to culture and cognitive development. In P. Baltes & U. Staudinger (Eds.), Interactive minds (pp. 59–87). Cambridge University Press.

Collins, P. H. (1990). Black feminist thought: Knowledge, consciousness, and the politics of empowerment. Unwin Hyman.

Collins, P.H. (1991). The meaning of motherhood in Black culture. In R. Staples (Ed.), The Black family: Essays and studies. Wadsworth.

Cortes, K.L. (2019). Between Blackness and Africanness: Indexing Puerto Rican identity through discourse in Northern California. In M.K. Clark, P.W. Mnyandu, & L. Azalia (Eds.) Pan African Spaces: Essays on Black Transnationalism. Lexington Press.

De Lauretis, T. (1991). Queer theory: Lesbian and gay sexualities. Differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies, 3(3), 3-28. DOI:

Dei, G. J. S. (2000). Rethinking the role of indigenous knowledges in the academy. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 4(2), 111-132. DOI:

Dewi Oka, C. (2016). Mothering as revolutionary praxis. In A. P. Gumbs, C. Martens, & M. Williams (Eds.), Revolutionary Mothering: Love on the Front Lines (pp. 50-57). PM Press.

Díaz Soler, L. M. (1994). Puerto Rico: Desde sus orígenes hasta el cese de la dominación Española. San Juan: Editorial de la Universidad de Puerto Rico.

Díaz Soler, L.M. (2000). Historia de la esclavitud negra en Puerto Rico. San Juan: Editorial de la Universidad de Puerto Rico. doi:10.108 0/00131725.2014.850980

Duany, J. (2001). Making Indians out of Blacks: The revitalization of Taíno identity in contemporary Puerto Rico. In G. Haslip-Viera (Ed.), Taíno revival: Critical perspectives on Puerto Rican identity and cultural politics (pp. 55- 82). Markus Wiener

Duong, K. (2012). What does queer theory teach us about intersectionality? Politics & Gender, 8(3), 370-386. DOI:

Edwards, A. (2000). Community mothering: The relationship between mothering and the community work of Black women. Journal of the Association for Research on Mothering, 2(2), 87–100.

Fanon, F. (1967) Black Skin, white masks, trans. Charles L. Markmann. New York: Grove Press.

Foster, H. J. (1983). African patterns in Afro-American family. Journal of Black Studies, 14, 201-232. DOI:

Fuentes, E. (2013). Political mothering: Latina and African American mothers in the struggle for educational justice. Anthropology & Education Quarterly, 44(3), 304-319. DOI:

Garcia-Louis, C. & Cortes, K.L. (2020). Rejecting black and rejected back: AfroLatinx college students’ experiences with anti-AfroLatinidad. Journal of Latinos and Education. DOI: 10.1080/15348431.2020.1731692 DOI:

Gilkes, C. T. (1980). 'Holding back the ocean with a broom': Black women and community work. In L. Rodgers-Rose (Ed.), The Black woman (pp. 217-231). Sage.

Godreau, I. (2002). Changing space, making race: Distance, nostalgia, and the folklorization of blackness in Puerto Rico. Identities: Global Studies in Culture and Power, 9(3), 281-304. DOI:

Godreau, I. P. (2015). Scripts of blackness: Race, cultural nationalism, and US colonialism in Puerto Rico. University of Illinois Press. DOI:

Goodson, I., & Sikes, P. (2001). Life history research in educational settings: Learning from lives. Open University Press.

Gumbs, A. P. (2016). M/other ourselves: A Black queer feminist genealogy for radical mothering. In A. P. Gumbs, C. Martens, & M. Williams (Eds.), Revolutionary Mothering: Love on the Front Lines. PM Press.

Gutiérrez, K. D. & Johnson, P.R. (2017). Understanding identity sampling and cultural repertoires: Advancing an historicizing and syncretic system of teaching and learning in justice pedagogies. In D. Paris & H. S. Alim (Eds.), Culturally sustaining pedagogies: Teaching and learning for justice in a changing world. Teachers College Press.

Gutiérrez, K. D., & Jurow, A. S. (2016): Social design experiments: Toward equity by design. Journal of the Learning Sciences, 25(4), 565-598. DOI:

Gutiérrez, K. D., & Rogoff, B. (2003). Cultural ways of learning: Individual traits or repertoires of practice. Educational Researcher, 32(5), 19-25. DOI:

Gutiérrez, K. D., Cortes, K., Cortez, A., DiGiacomo, D., Higgs, J., Johnson, P., Lizárraga J. R., Mendoza, E., Tien, J., & Vakil, S. (2017). Replacing representation with imagination: Finding ingenuity in everyday practices. Review of Research in Education, 41(1), 30-60. DOI:

Gutiérrez, K., (2016). Designing resilient ecologies: Social design experiments and a new social imagination. Educational Researcher, 45(3), 187-196. DOI:

Halpern, C. (2018). Multicultural for who? A review of a comprehensive multicultural textbook. Journal of Culture and Values in Education, 1(2), 58-62. DOI:

Haslip-Viera, G. (Ed.). (2001). Taíno revival: Critical perspectives on Puerto Rican identity and cultural politics. Markus Wiener Publishers.

Hays, W. C., & Mindel, C. H. (1973). Extended kinship relations in Black and White families. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 51-57. DOI:

Hintzen, P. (2001). West Indian in the West: Self-representations in an immigrant community. New York University Press.

hooks, b. (1994). Feminist theory: From margin to center. South End Press.

James, W. Y. (2019). Imprint of Racism: White Adult Males’ Transformational Experience from Racial Antipathy to Racial Reconciliation. American Journal of Qualitative Research, 3(1), 93-116. DOI:

Kopish, M. A. (2016). Preparing globally competent teacher candidates through cross-cultural experiential learning. Journal of Social Studies Education Research, 7(2), 75-108.

Lave, J., & Wenger, E. (1991). Situated learning: Legitimate peripheral participation. Cambridge University Press. DOI:

Manuel, P. L. (1994). Puerto Rican music and cultural identity: Creative appropriation of Cuban sources from danza to salsa. Ethnomusicology, 38(2), 249-80. DOI:

McDonald, K. B. (1997). Black activist mothering: A historical intersection of race, gender, and class. Gender & Society, 11(6), 773-795. DOI:

Naples, N. A. (1992). Activist mothering: Cross-generational continuity in the community work of women from low-income urban neighborhoods. Gender & Society, 6(3), 441-463. DOI:

Nasir, N. I. S., & Hand, V. M. (2006). Exploring sociocultural perspectives on race, culture, and learning. Review of Educational Research, 76(4), 449-475. DOI:

Nieto, S. (2014). Introduction to “diversity, globalization, and education”. The Educational Forum, 78, 3–6. DOI:

O’Reilly, A. (2000). I come from a long line of Uppity irate black women: African-American feminist thought on motherhood, the motherline, and the mother-daughter relationship. In A. O’Reilly & S. Abbey (Eds.), Mothers and daughters: Connection, empowerment, and transformation (pp. 143–59). Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.

Olsen, L. (1997). Made in America: Immigrant students in our public schools. New York, NY: The New Press.

Pacheco, M. (2012). Learning in/through everyday resistance: A cultural-historical perspective on community resources and curriculum. Educational Researcher, 41(4), 121-132. DOI:

Packer, M. J., & Goicoechea, J. (2000). Sociocultural and constructivist theories of learning: Ontology, not just epistemology. Educational Psychologist, 35(4), 227-241. DOI:

Peterson, V. S. (2014). Family matters: How queering the intimate queers the international. International Studies Review, 16(4), 604-608. DOI:

Rivera, R. Z. (2007). Will the “real” Puerto Rican culture please stand up? Thoughts on cultural nationalism. In F. Negron-Muntaner (Ed.), None of the above: Puerto Ricans in the global era (pp. 217-231). Palgrave Macmillan. DOI:

Rivera, R. Z. (2010). New York bomba: Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, and a bridge called Haiti. Rhythms of the Afro-Atlantic world: Rituals and remembrances, 178-199.

Rodriguez-Silva, I. (2012). Silencing race: Disentangling blackness, colonialism, and national identities in Puerto Rico. St. Martin’s Press LLC.

Rogoff, B. (1990). Apprenticeship in thinking: Cognitive development in social context. Oxford University Press.

Sakho, J. R. (2017). Black activist mothering: Teach me about what teaches you. Western Journal of Black Studies, 41(1/2), 6-19.

Saxe, G. B. (1999). Cognition, development, and cultural practices. New Directions for Child & Adolescent Development, 83, 19-35. DOI:

Schneider, D. M. (1980). American kinship: A cultural account. University of Chicago Press. DOI:

Telles, E. (2014). Pigmentocracies: Ethnicity, race, and color in Latin America. Chapel Hill: UNC Press Books.

Tölölyan, K. (1991). The nation-state and its others: In lieu of a preface. Diaspora, 1, 3–7. DOI:

Vega, M. M. (1999). The ancestral sacred creative impulse of Africa and the African diaspora: Ase, the nexus of the Black global aesthetic. Lenox Avenue: A Journal of Interarts Inquiry, 5, 45-57. DOI:

Vossoughi, S., & Gutiérrez, K. (2014). Studying movement, hybridity, and change: Toward a multi-sited sensibility for research on learning across contexts and borders. National Society for the Study of Education, 113(2), 603-632. DOI:

Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind in Society. Harvard University Press.

Vygotsky, L. S. (1987). The Collected Works of L. S. Vygotsky: Vol. 1. Problems of General Psychology. Plenum Press.

Wagenheim, K., & de Wagenheim, O. J. (Eds.). (2008). The Puerto Ricans: A documentary history. Doubleday.

Weheliye, A. G. (2009). My volk to come: Peoplehood in recent diaspora discourse and Afro-German popular music. Black Europe and the African Diaspora, 120, 161.

Wenger, E. (1998). Communities of practice: Learning as a social system. Systems Thinker, 9(5), 2-3. DOI:

Wertsch, J. V. (1998). Mind as action. Oxford University Press. DOI:




How to Cite

Cortes, K. L. (2020). AfroBoriqua Mothering: Teaching/Learning Blackness in a Bay Area AfroPuerto Rican Community of Practice. Journal of Ethnic and Cultural Studies, 7(2), 127–146.



Original Manuscript
Received 2020-04-19
Accepted 2020-06-09
Published 2020-07-11