Luis A. Figueroa–Martínez is an Associate Professor in the Department of History and core faculty in the Urban Studies Program at Trinity's Center for Urban and Global Studies.
His scholarly interests range widely. His initial research focused on slavery, post-slavery and race in Puerto Rico. It resulted in the book Sugar, Slavery and Freedom in Nineteenth-Century Puerto Rico, co-published in 2005 by The University of North Carolina Press and Editorial de la Universidad de Puerto Rico.
Recipient of an essay award in 2006 from the Puerto Rico Chapter of the PEN Club International, this book examines the transition from slavery to post-emancipation on the island by looking closely at the southeastern Guayama region, the sugar plantation zone most dependent on African slave labor in Puerto Rico in the 1800s.
Figueroa-Martínez's work in the field of documentary film production includes serving as scholar and script consultant for "Puerto Rican Passages" (1995), on the Puerto Rican migration to Connecticut; and as scholarly consultant and co-producer (uncredited) for "Ritmo de Pueblo" (2001), a film exploring the role of music in Puerto Rican culture on the island and the diaspora. Both films premiered on Connecticut Public Television and were later broadcast on other PBS affiliates.
In addition, he served as research scholar and co-producer in a decade-long documentary film project, funded by the Rockefeller and Kellogg foundations, focusing on the politics of race and class among African Americans, Puerto Ricans and Non-Hispanic Whites in Hartford from the 1960s to the early 2000s.
Figueroa-Martínez is currently completing a manuscript on urbanism, suburbanization, and colonial modernity in San Juan, Puerto Rico since the 1930s, centered on Avenida Franklin Delano Roosevelt in Hato Rey.
His new interdisciplinary research project focuses on nightlife culture, popular dance music, transnationalism, globalization and hybrid identities in the world of electronic House music, in Hartford, metropolitan New York, Europe and Latin America, since the 1980s.
Prior to joining Trinity College, Figueroa–Martínez was an Assistant Professor in the Department of History and Associate Director of the Center for Latin American Studies at the University of Connecticut in Storrs, as well as co-founder of UConn's Institute for Puerto Rican and Latino Studies. (CLAS and IPRLS have now merged into El Instituto: Institute of Latina/o, Caribbean, and Latin American Studies.)
Born in Ponce, and raised in Coamo, Puerto Rico, Figueroa-Martínez earned his Ph.D. and M.A. in Latin American History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison under Steve J. Stern, Florencia E. Mallon, Thomas E. Skidmore, and Francisco Scarano,;and his B.A. in General (Interdisciplinary) Studies at the Universidad de Puerto Rico, Recinto de Río Piedras.