How do the lived conditions of colonialism assume particular forms of legibility and dissociation in relation to imperial nation-states such as the United States, where a variety of colonialisms remain both constitutive and continuing, but are seldom understood as such? Conventional historical narratives of decolonization are insufficient for addressing the complex overlay of colonizations in the present and what might come afterward. This essay focuses on Puerto Rico in order to consider the colonial disavowals that strive to render these conditions unintelligible and against which counter-epistemologies and new social possibilities take shape under the escalating pressure of recent judicial rulings and fiscal crises.

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