2019 Puerto Rico Conference

The World History Association’s 28th Annual Conference will be held in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on 27–29 June 2019.

Founded in 1509, San Juan is the oldest city under U.S. rule and one of the oldest European settlements in the Americas, having existed as part of the Spanish colonial empire for nearly four centuries before being occupied by the United States following the 1898 Spanish–American War. As one of the principal port cities of the Carribean, San Juan played a large role in the early modern colonial wars among the European imperial powers. Its importance within the Spanish colonial system only increased after the Latin American wars of independence, and it continues to be an significant commercial port.

Viejo San Juan is a U.S. National Historic Landmark District and includes the San Juan National Historic Site, which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Much of the town’s Spanish colonial architecture is preserved, as well as the San Felipe del Moro and San Cristóbal forts and most of the 13-m-high city walls. The town’s Iglesia de San José, which dates to the early sixteenth century, is an important example of Spanish colonial gothic architecture, and the adjoining Galería Nacional de Puerto Rico, housed in a former Dominican abbey once served by the church, holds a major collection of Puerto Rican art. Notable among San Juan’s other museums and galleries is the Casa del Libro, with a collection of print and manuscript books dating to the 1400s.

Puerto Rico Schedule

Caribe Hilton Hotel and Resort

The hotel registration for the WHA 28th Annual Conference in San Juan, Puerto Rico is now available! To take advantage of hotel block pricing, please click here.

The conference will be located at the Caribe Hilton hotel and resort that sits along the coast of Puerto Rico’s capital. The resort includes the following: four pools, a private beach, access to a world-class fitness center, a free round of mini-golf each day, high speed internet, and it is the birthplace of the much-loved drink, the piña colada!

The pricing for the WHA block of hotel rooms are $189 per night for members and $159 per night for graduate students with a 4pm check in time. Rooms in the WHA block must be booked by June 3, 2019 and is managed through Connections Housing. These prices are based on single or double occupancy. There will be an additional cost of $25 per night for any additional guests staying in the room. The room tax rate is 9% per day.

Our block of rooms will be available from Monday, June 24th through Sunday, June 30th. To accommodate all registrants, the WHA office can connect people seeking roommates. If interested or if you have any questions, please email us at info@thewha.org.

Important Dates

  • 6 May 2019: Final day for session speakers & presenters to register for conference or have their names withdrawn from the program.
  • 15 May 2019: Preliminary schedule will be published online and last day to register at the regular registration rate.
  • 27 June 2019: Conference begins.  Join us for opening ceremonies starting with the Keynote Address at 4:30 pm, followed by the Opening Reception at 6:30. Sessions will begin on Friday, June 28.

Keynote Speakers

The first day of the conference will begin with a keynote panel on Thursday, June 27th at 4:30 pm. The panel will consist of four specialists in the field of Caribbean and urban history whose research has global implications: Mariana Dantes, Armand Garcia, Jorge L. Giovannetti-Torres, and Zaire Z. Dinzey-Flores. More information on each speaker can be found below.

Mariana Dantas is an associate professor of history at Ohio University and holds a Ph.D. degree from The Johns Hopkins University. She specializes in the history of slavery and African diasporic peoples in the Atlantic World. Her book, Black Townsmen: Urban Slavery and Freedom in the Eighteenth-Century Americas (Palgrave, 2008), provides a comparative analysis of enslaved and free blacks as urbanizing agents in the Americas. She has published several chapters in edited volumes and articles in The Americas, the Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History, the Colonial Latin American Historical Review, the Journal of Family History, African Economic History, and the Brazilian journal Almanack. She was recently awarded an Arts and Humanities Research Council of the UK grant to develop an international research network on the topic of the global city, past and present. She is a founding member of the Global Urban History Project [www.globalurbanhistory.org] and serves on their board of directors and bibliography project.

Jorge L. Giovannetti-Torres is Professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras, where he currently serves as Assistant Dean of Research. Over more than two decades, his research interests have moved from Caribbean music and popular culture, to the history of Caribbean labor migrations, racism and slavery, and the intellectual history of post-World War II anthropology in the rural Caribbean. He is the author of Sonidos de condena: Sociabilidad, historia y política en la música reggae de Jamaica (Siglo XXI Editores, 2001) and Black British Migrants in Cuba: Race, Labor, and Empire in the Twentieth-Century Caribbean, 1898-1948 (Cambridge University Press, 2018). He has also co-edited a special issue of the peer-review journal Caribbean Studies on Garveyism in the Hispanic Caribbean (2003) and the digital book Antropologías del Caribe Hispano: Notas de campo sobre Cuba y Puerto Rico (iINAS, 2015). A former British Academy Visiting Scholar at London Metropolitan University, he has also held visiting appointments at Princeton University, and New York University. He is the recipient of grants from the New York Public Library, the American Council for Learned Societies, and the American Philosophical Society, and serves in the editorial board of New West Indian Guide (KITLV Press), the oldest scholarly journal on the Caribbean.

Zaire Z. Dinzey-Flores is an Associate Professor of Sociology and Latino & Caribbean Studies at Rutgers University. Her interdisciplinary research focuses on understanding how the urban built environment mediates community life and race, class, and social inequality. Her book, Locked In, Locked Out: Gated Communities in a Puerto Rican City (University Of Pennsylvania Press: 2013), winner of the 2014 Robert E. Park for best book in urban and community sociology, investigates race and class inequality as codified in housing and neighborhood architecture. She is currently working on a manuscript examining race and class distinctions in the production of urban residential spaces in the Brooklyn real estate market and a second manuscript on the circulation of planning ideas through Puerto Rico and the Americas, in the middle of the 20th century. In addition, Dinzey-Flores is collaborating on a project that puts architecture and sociology in direct conversation for rethinking cities. She holds a Ph.D. in Public Policy and Sociology and a Masters in Urban Planning from the University of Michigan, a M.A. in Sociology from Stanford University, and a B.A. in Sociology from Harvard University.


The easiest way to register for the 2019 WHA Annual Conference in Puerto Rico is to use the online form.  In addition, a registration form is available for those who wish to register by post or fax.  Registration is also available by calling the WHA telephone number with your credit card.

The conference registration rates are:

(through 1 March)
(2 March–15 May)
(16 May & after)
WHA member$225$325$355
WHA student member$125$170$190
Guest pass$75$90$100

Photo credit for image of garita at Castillo San Felipe del Morro: Flickr user Oquendo.

Tours & Events

Below are the tours and events that will be offered before, during, and after the conference. To sign up for a tour or event please click here and go to online store on the left tab. Please note that tour registration is available only after you are a registered for the conference. With the exception of music night (available through June) & Jamaica (now full), all tours have been extended through May 3, 2019.

Hurricane Recovery Projects – THIS TOUR FULL

June 25

8:30am (hotel pickup) to 5:00pm (subject to traffic)


Includes transportation, lunch, snacks, supplies and a cash donation to the site(s).

Service Opportunity- Volunteer to help one or two days at a school or shelter that has hurricane damage. Past projects have involved building roofs, outfitting shelters, painting and delivering bedding and supplies.

Northwest Puerto Rico Island Tour

June 26

8:30am (hotel pickup) to 7:00pm


Includes transportation, lunch, snacks, entrance fees to museums and sites, and a private tour guide.

This tour will explore the architecture, gastronomy, culture, and topography of this unique region of the island. 2.5 hour drive from San Juan. Will visit the towns of: Mayaguez, Hatillo, Isabela, Aguidilla, and Cabo Rojo.

Ponce Art, Architecture and Nature Tour

June 26 or June 30

9:00am (hotel pickup) to 5:00pm


Includes transportation, snacks, entrance fees to museums and sites, and a private tour guide. Lunchtime will be provided but cost of meals is not included in pricing.

Explore Ponce, the pearl of the south, from art to beach, from history to cuisine. You will have the opportunity to visit the Museum of Ponce and its magnificent collection of local and European art. You will see the grand mansions in the Ponce Creole architectural style.

Art and History Tour

June 27

9:00am (hotel pickup) to 2:00pm


Includes transportation, guides, entrance fees to museums. Lunchtime will be provided but cost of meals is not included in the pricing.

You will visit two local art museums that explore the modern and classical art found in Puerto Rico and Museum de Arte de Puerto Rico. As you drive from the hotel to the first museum, you will be able to view some of the art of the buildings in Santurce as well as Miramar’s lavish art-deco architecture that served as plantation owners’ homes from a bygone era.

Food Tour (Lunch) – THIS TOUR FULL

June 27

10:00am (hotel pickup) to 3:00pm


Includes transportation, all cost of food and snacks, and local cuisine experts/chefs.

We will explore the authentic cuisine and traditional dishes of the island. You will savor the Spanish, African and Native influences to the local modern cuisine. Bacalaitos, coffee, mofongo, rum and so much more!

Afro-Caribbean Musical Heritage: an Abridged Evolutionary Narrative

June 29

7:00pm at the Caribe Hilton


A fun-filled musical journey through time where old world meets new world, with it’s unique fusion of African soul and Spanish fire.  A taste of the evolution of our Afro-Caribbean musical heritage.  These local, versatile & professional musicians will engage us in this live performance with information about these musical influences and most important, authentic music.  The evening will culminate with rendition of Carli Muñoz’ release “Wangari Maathai” honoring the Nobel Prize winner & activist. Presented by Eduardo Cautiño and Carli Muñoz, accompanied by Raul Rosario (Percussion), William Garcia (Drums), and Jesus Colon (Bass).


Jamaica: Explore Global History, Local Foods and the History of Coffee

June 30 – July 4

New Prices: $1295 per person for double occupancy and $1395 single occupancy

The first half of this post-conference Caribbean tour is led by WHA Pioneer Dr. Candice Goucher, who has conducted archaeological and historical research on the island of Jamaica for more than 30 years and is the author of the award-winning book Congotay! Congotay! A Global History of Caribbean Food. The small group will go beyond the island’s beaten paths and spend two nights based in the small fishing village of Bluefields on Jamaica’s south coast, exploring sustainable foods from the sea and land. Visits include the island’s first protected fish sanctuary (maintained by the Fishermen’s Friendly Society), an eighteenth-century rum factory, the dining hall of a sugar plantation Great House, an organic farm, a primary school teaching world history and sustainability, and local markets brimming with water coconuts, ackee, soursop, and mangoes. Meet the local teachers, cooks, villagers, artisans, fisherfolk, farmers, beekeepers, jam makers, and roadside chefs, as we eat our way through paradise.

The second half of the tour will be in the Blue Mountains for 2-days, 2-nights at a newly inscribed UNESCO World Heritage Site renowned for its remarkably smooth coffee prized by connoisseurs. This part of the tour is led by Heidi Savery and Alyssa Sperry. Heidi Savery, an anthropologist specializing in tourism and heritage management from Binghamton University, has resided in Jamaica since 2011. Alyssa Sperry, from the University of Oregon, has been conducting historical and anthropological research on the island of Jamaica for the past 3 years. Includes a rare coffee bean tasting and farm-to-table feast.

Package price includes roundtrip airport transfers, 4 nights double-room, ocean-front/mountain-view hotel accommodations, three breakfasts, ground transportation, all tours, one lunch. and two group dinners. For more information, please email us at info@thewha.org.