Jorell A. Melendez-Badillo

Assistant Professor
Academic Appointments

Assistant Professor of History
Mellon Faculty Fellow, Dartmouth College, 2018-20

Jorell A. Meléndez-Badillo is a historian of Latin America and the Caribbean with a particular focus on the global circulation of radical ideas from the standpoint of working-class intellectual communities.

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His book, The Lettered Barriada: Workers and the Politics of Knowledge in Early Twentieth-Century Puerto Rico (Duke UP, 2021), tells the story of how a cluster of self-educated workers burst into Puerto Rico’s world of letters at the turn of the twentieth century. These workers navigated the polity that emerged from the 1898 U.S. occupation by asserting themselves as citizens, as producers of their own historical narratives, and, ultimately, as learned minds. His book shifts the historiographical focus from class-based analyses towards the study of workers’ intellectual yearnings, aesthetic sensibilities, and radical desires.

Dr. Meléndez-Badillo is currently writing a trade book titled Puerto Rico: A National History (under contract with Princeton University Press). The book offers an accessible introduction to Puerto Rico, its history, and the contemporary political moment. It is a national history of a country without a nation-state. It tells the story of how Puerto Rico has been colonized for more than five centuries. However, it also documents how the people have resisted colonial domination. Ultimately, the book will provide unfamiliar readers with an informed argument of how and why Puerto Rico arrived at its current juncture, as well as how Puerto Ricans are imagining possible futures in the face of austerity, failing infrastructures, and the rubble left behind by colonial neglect

He is also working on another monograph-length research project, tentatively titled Following the Revolution: Juan Francisco and Blanca Moncaleano's Transnational Militancy, 1910-1916. It explores the materiality of working-class intellectual communities in Latin America, the Caribbean, and the U.S. borderlands by rethinking the role of anarchist newspaper production. Beyond their propagandistic ethos, newspapers served as nodes that facilitated the creation of transregional anarchist cartographies.

Meléndez-Badillo holds a Ph.D. in Latin American History from the University of Connecticut, where he was a Ford Foundation Fellow and a Humanities Institute Fellow. He is the author of Voces libertarias: Los orígenes del anarquismo en Puerto Rico (Secret Sailor Books, 2013; Fundación Anselmo Lorenzo-CNT, 2014; Editorial Akelarre/CEISO, 2015), editor of Páginas libres: Breve antología del pensamiento anarquista en Puerto Rico, 1900-1919 (Editora Educación Emergente, 2021), and the co-editor of Without Borders or Limits: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Anarchist Studies (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2013). His work on the histories of anarchism, labor, and radical politics has also been published in book chapters, as well as journal and newspaper articles in Puerto Rico and Latin America. His work has appeared in Caribbean Studies Journal, Latin American Perspectives, and Theory in Action, among others.

He is a co-founder (2018), co-chair (2018-20), and chair (2020-21) of the Latin American Studies Association’s Puerto Rico Section. He is also a member of the Executive Committee for the New England Humanities Consortium's Faculty of Color Working Group.

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201 Carson Hall
HB 6107
Ph. D. The University of Connecticut
M.A. Inter American University of Puerto Rico
B.A. Inter American University of Puerto Rico

Selected Publications


- The Lettered Barriada: Workers, Archival Power, and the Politics of Knowledge in Puerto Rico (Duke University Press, Nov. 5, 2021). Recipient of Duke University Press Scholars of Color Book Award. 

Voces libertarias: Orígenes del anarquismo en Puerto Rico. Ediciones CCC: Santurce, 2013; 2nd ed., Madrid: Fundación Anselmo Lorenzo, 2014;  3rd ed., Lajas, P. R.: Editorial Akelarre, 2015. 

Edited Volumes:

- Páginas libres: Breve antología del pensamiento anaquista en Puerto Rico, 1900-1919. Mayagüez: Editora Educación Emergente, 2021.

- Without Borders or Limits: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Anarchist Studies. Co-edited with Nathan J. Jun. Newcastle upon Tyne, U.K.: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2013.

Peer-Reviewed Articles:

- “A Party of Ex-Convicts: Bolívar Ochart, Incarceration, and the Socialist Party in Puerto Rico, 1917-1928,” Hispanic American Historical Review vol. 101, no. 1 (February 2021): 73-99.

- “Mateo and Juana: Racial Silencing, Epistemic Violence, and Counterarchives in Puerto Rican Labor History,” International Labor and Working-Class History Journal vol. 96 (Fall 2019): 103-121.

- “Imagining Resistance: Organizing the Puerto Rican Southern Agricultural Strike of 1905.” Caribbean Studies Journal vol. 43, no. 2 (July-December 2015): 33-82.“Imagining Resistance: Organizing the Puerto Rican Southern Agricultural Strike of 1905.” Caribbean Studies Journal vol. 43, no. 2 (July-December 2015): 33-82.

- “Labor History’s Transnational Turn: Rethinking Latin American and Caribbean Migrant Workers.” Latin American Perspectives vol. 42, no. 4 (July 2015): 117-122. 

Book Chapters:

- “Luisa Capetillo en La Habana: Sus escritos en la prensa anarquista cubana, 1910-1914.” In Amor y anarquía: Los escritos de Luisa Capetillo, edited by Julio Ramos. Mayagüez: Editorial Educación Emergente, Forthcoming, 2021.

- “Efemeridad, poder y olvido de los (contra)archivos anarquistas en Puerto Rico.” Reflexiones en torno a los archivos en el estudio del anarquismo en América y España.” Edited by Ivanna Margarucci, Martín Albornoz, Eduardo Godoy Sepúlveda, and Juan Cruz López. Santiago de Chile: Editorial Eleuterio, Forthcoming, 2021.

- “The Anarchist Imaginary: Max Nettlau and Latin America, 1890-1934.” In Writing Revolution: Hispanic Anarchist Print Culture and the United States, edited by Montse Feu-López and Chris J Castañeda. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2019.

- “The Puerto Rican Experiment: Crisis, Colonialism, and Popular Response.” In The End of the World as We Know It? Crisis, Resistance, and the Age of Austerity, edited by Deric Shannon. Oakland, CA: AK Press, 2014.

- “Interpreting, Deconstructing, and Deciphering Ideograms of Rebellion: An Approach to the History of Reading in Puerto Rico’s Anarchist Groups at the Beginning of the Twentieth Century.” In Without Borders or Limits: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Anarchist Studies, edited by Meléndez Badillo, Jorell and Nathan Jun, 57-75. Newcastle upon Tyne, U.K.: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2013.

Other Academic Publications:

- “Camacho-Quinn’s gold medal sparked a debate about Puerto Rican national identity,” The Washington Post’s Made by History, (August 6, 2021):

- “La Calle Fortaleza in Puerto Rico’s Primavera de Verano,” co-authored with Aurora Santiago Ortiz, in Decolonial Geographies of Puerto Rico’s 2019 Summer Protests, online forum edited by Marisol LeBrón and Joaquín Villanueva, Society and Space Journal (February 25, 2020):

- “Commemorating May Day in Puerto Rico,” NACLA Report on the Americas vol. 51, no. 3 (September 2019): 301-305.   

- “Puerto Rico’s Multiple Solidarities: Emergent Landscapes and the Geographies of Protest,” co-authored with Aurora Santiago-Ortiz, The Abusable Past by Radical History Review (July 22, 2019):

- “Los ecos del silencio: Dimensiones locales y aspiraciones globales del periódico Voz humana.” Revista La Brecha vol. 2, no. 3 (Fall 2016): 23-27.

- “Voces libertarias: The Economic, Political, and Social Discourse of Puerto Rican Anarchism, 1900-1917.” Theory in Action: The Journal of the Transformative Studies Institute vol. 5, no. 4 (2012): 6-12.

- “Expresiones anarquistas dentro de la prensa y la cultura proletaria puertorriqueña de principios del siglo XX.” Kálathos: Revista Transdisciplinaria Metro-Inter vol. 6, no. 1, (2012):

- “El cabildo secular en Puerto Rico: Siglos XVI-XVIII.”Kálathos: Revista Transdisciplinaria Metro-Inter vol. 5 , no. 1 (2011):



Works in progress

Book Projects: 

Puerto Rico: A National History. Under contract with Princeton University Press. 

- Following the Revolution: Juan Francisco and Blanca Moncaleano's Transnational Militancy, 1910-1916. Conducting initial research for book manuscript.

Publications Under Review:

 - “Anarchism and Its Infrastructures of Resistance in Nineteenth-Century Latin America,” Routledge Companion to Nineteenth-Century Latin America, edited by Agnes Lugo-Ortiz and Graciela Montaldo (under contract with Routledge). Chapter currently under review.

Articles Under Preparation: 

- "Luisa Capetillo and the Caribbean's Counter Republic of Letters." Article in preparation for Small Axe: A Journal of Caribbean Criticism

- “Prelude to Exile: The Impact of Ángel Rama and Marta Traba in Puerto Rico’s Intellectual Communities, 1970-1973.” Currently conducting research.  

- "In Defiance of the Archive of Puertorriqueñidad: The Black Puerto Rican Press in the 1930s.” Currently conducting research.