New Book: “The Borders of Dominicanidad” by Lorgia García-Peña


[Many thanks to Peter Jordens for this item.] The Borders of Dominicanidad: Race, Nation, and Archives of Contradiction by Lorgia García-Peña (Duke University Press, 2016) is described by Junot Díaz as: “A magnificent far-ranging volume that examines the history, politics, and meaning of Afro-dominicanidad in all its glorious thorny complexity. Lorgia García-Peña pursues her claim with a wide-ranging intersectional rigor … For those who seek to pierce the murky racial legacies that continue to envelop the Dominican Republic—and by extension the rest of our world—The Borders of Dominicanidad is a beacon.”

Description: In The Borders of Dominicanidad Lorgia García-Peña explores the ways official narratives and histories have been projected onto racialized Dominican bodies as a means of sustaining the nation’s borders. García-Peña constructs a genealogy of dominicanidad that highlights how Afro-Dominicans, ethnic Haitians, and Dominicans living abroad have contested these dominant narratives and their violent, silencing, and exclusionary effects. Centering the role of U.S. imperialism in drawing racial borders between Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and the United States, she analyzes musical, visual, artistic, and literary representations of foundational moments in the history of the Dominican Republic: the murder of three girls and their father in 1822; the criminalization of Afro-religious practice during the U.S. occupation between 1916 and 1924; the massacre of more than 20,000 people on the Dominican-Haitian border in 1937; and the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. García-Peña also considers the contemporary emergence of a broader Dominican consciousness among artists and intellectuals that offers alternative perspectives to questions of identity as well as the means to make audible the voices of long-silenced Dominicans.

Lorgia García-Peña is Assistant Professor of Romance Languages and Literatures and of History and Literature at Harvard University. She is a Latino/a Studies scholar who studies ethnicity, race, and national belonging. Her main areas of interest include Dominican history, literatures, and cultures, Caribbean diaspora studies, immigration, diasporas, contemporary politics, and performance studies. Her research poses a dialogue among history, literature, and cultural studies, paying close attention to questions of marginality, migration, and racial and ethnic identity formation.

Sources: and

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