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Charles  Venator-Santiago, Ph.D. - University of Connecticut. Storrs, CT, US

Charles Venator-Santiago, Ph.D. Charles  Venator-Santiago, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Political Science & El Instituto | University of Connecticut


Dr. Venator-Santiago is an expert in Nation-State building in the Americas.


Charles R. Venator Santiago holds a joint appointment with the Department of Political Science and the Institute of Puerto Rican and Latino Studies. He is also a Faculty-in-Residence for the Northwest Complex. He teaches courses with a focus on Latino Politics and Thought and in the areas of Public Law and Political Theory. His research broadly focuses on questions pertaining to Nation-State building in the Americas . He is currently completing a book-length manuscript on constitutional interpretation and the creation of spaces that belong to the U.S. but are not a part of the nation for constitutional purposes. Other ongoing research projects include work on the deportation of Dominicans from the U.S., asylum and the U.N. Convention Against Torture, and the ideological underpinnings of Latino politics in the Western hemisphere.

Areas of Expertise (6)

Nation-State building in the Americas Political Theory Latino Politics Puerto Rico/US Law Territorial Legal History Public Law Puerto Rican and Latino Studies

Education (3)

University of Massachusetts at Amherst: Ph.D, Political Science 2002

Comprehensive Examinations: Public Law and History of
Political Thought Dissertation: Constitutional Interpretation and Nation-Building: Race and the Territorial Clause, 1787-1900
Chair: Roberto Alejandro

University of Massachusetts at Amherst: M.A., Political Science 1996

Areas of Specialization: International Relations and Political Theory
Thesis: The Other Nationalists, Marcus Garvey and Pedro Albizu Campos
Chair: Dean Robinson

University of Massachusetts at Amherst: B.A., Political Science 1992

Certificate: Latin American Studies

Affiliations (3)

  • Law and Society Association (LSA)
  • American Political Science Association (APSA)
  • Puerto Rican Studies Association

Accomplishments (1)

Outstanding Faculty of the Year (professional)

Puerto Rican/Latin American Cultural Center, University of Connecticut



Charles  Venator-Santiago, Ph.D. Publication Charles  Venator-Santiago, Ph.D. Publication





Media Appearances (5)

A Territory in Limbo

U.S. News & World Report  print


All U.S. territories are subject to federal rules which ban foreign air carriers to exchange cargo among their own fleet, or to transfer cargo to different carriers on U.S. soil. Hawaii and Alaska have won exemptions to this rule, but Puerto Rico, similarly geographically from the mainland, is not. Including Puerto Rico in the exemption could make the island a lucrative, Caribbean cargo hub – but there's no move in Washington to make the change, says University of Connecticut political science professor Charles Venator, author of "Puerto Rico and the Origins of U.S. Global Empire: The Disembodied Shade."

"Congress has this wide berth to do what it wants to help the island. They've chosen to discriminate downward, historically," Venator says. "It's a question of will."

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Puerto Rico to Vote Sunday on Statehood

Fox Business  online


Voters in Puerto Rico head to the polls Sunday to decide whether to back a bid to make the U.S. territory the 51st state, at a time when the island is gripped by an economic crisis that is creating stiff challenges for such a proposal.

With Republicans in full control of Congress -- the body that needs to authorize the admission of a new state -- a statehood bid "is dead on arrival," said Charles Venator-Santiago, a political-science professor at the University of Connecticut.

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‘Citicien’: 100 Puerto Rican Artists Express Complexity of U.S. Citizenship

NBC News  online


NEW YORK — A new exhibit examines the complexities and facets of Puerto Rican identity 100 years after U.S. citizenship.

CitiCien, a new traveling exhibition created by multimedia art collective Defend Puerto Rico, features 100 Puerto Rican artists from the island and the diaspora. The exhibit opened Thursday on the 100th anniversary of the Jones Act, the first piece of legislation that opened a pathway for Puerto Ricans to earn U.S. citizenship.

“Puerto Ricans are less than second-class citizens,” says Charles Venator-Santiago, a political science professor at the University of Connecticut who’s introducing a special study later this month for the Center of Puerto Rican Studies in New York.

After a series of cases from the 90’s in which Puerto Ricans wanted to give up their U.S. citizenships to become Puerto Rican citizens, courts determined this was not possible. They argued that in order to self-expatriate, petitioners had to declare a residency outside of the United States. Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory and thus not considered to be outside the U.S.

“Puerto Ricans who want to renounce from their U.S. citizenship can’t do it and we can’t become naturalized U.S. citizens either,” says Venator-Santiago. But once Puerto Ricans born on the island declare residency in the United States, their U.S. citizenship becomes constitutionally protected and can’t be revoked.

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Puerto Rican crisis roils 2016 race

The Hill  online


Puerto Rico's economic crisis could play a critical role in the race for the White House.

Years of economic decline has driven hundreds of thousands of island residents to the US mainland, and is upending the political calculus on the presidential trail.

Puerto Rican residents cannot vote for the president in the general election, but can cast votes in primary contests.

“My guess is that the majority of them are going for Trump,” said Charles Venator-Santiago, an associate professor at the University of Connecticut. “He’s a known quantity in Puerto Rico.”

While Puerto Ricans, as U.S. citizens, are not impacted by immigration policies, Barreto wondered if Trump’s heavy hand on that topic could hurt him if they feel like the broader public is becoming hostile to Hispanics as a whole.

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Latino Millennials Have The Power, So Why Don't They Use It?

Huffington Post  online


Researchers believe that these children, brought to the U.S. without documentation by their parents and whom Obama granted amnesty, might become highly active in the political arena. "My sense…is that naturalized dreamers are more prone to participate in politics [and vote] than older, naturalized Latinos," said University of Connecticut professor Charles Venator-Santiago.

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Articles (5)

US Territorial Citizenship Today: Four Interpretations PS: Political Science & Politics

Charles R Venator-Santiago

Questions about the citizenship status of people born in the US territories continue to be discussed in public debates. In 2007, Gabriel Chin (2008) questioned whether Senator John McCain, the Republican Party's presidential nominee, was a natural-born citizen, which is a constitutional requirement for eligibility to serve as the US president. Senator McCain was born on a US military base in the Panama Canal Zone, a leased and unincorporated territory located outside of the United States for purposes of the Fourteenth Amendment.

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A Note on the Puerto Rican De-Naturalization Exception of 1948 Centro Journal

Charles R Venator-Santiago

In 1948, Congress enacted corrective legislation amending the citizenship provisions of both the Jones Act of 1917 and the Nationality Act of 1940. Under prevailing naturalization laws, a person born in Puerto Rico who acquired a US citizenship under the terms of the Jones Act was given a naturalized citizenship status. It followed that Puerto Ricans, like other naturalized citizens, who continuously resided or worked outside of the United States for five or more years were automatically denaturalized.

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Mapping the Contours of the History of the Extension of US Citizenship to Puerto Rico, 1898-Present Centro Journal

Charles Venator-Santiago

The Jones Act of 1917 was neither the first nor the last law enacted by Congress containing a citizenship provision for Puerto Rico. Since annexing Puerto Rico in 1898, Federal lawmakers debated at least 100 bills containing citizenship, nationality, and naturalization provisions for the island's inhabitants.

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US Citzienship in Puerto Rico: One Hundred Years After the Jones Act Centro Journal

Charles R Venator-Santiago, Edgardo Meléndez

On Mar 2, 1917, nineteen years after the US annexed Puerto Rico, Congress enacted the Jones Act, an organic or territorial law providing for the collective naturalization of the archipelago's inhabitants.

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Island at War: Puerto Rico in the Crucible of the Second World War Hispanic American Historical Review

Charles R Venator-Santiago

Island at War was edited by Jorge Rodríguez Beruff and José L. Bolívar Fresneda and includes contributions from seven additional scholars. The main goal of this volume is to provide a comprehensive and interdisciplinary examination of the impact of the Second World War on Puerto Rico.

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