Date of Degree


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Leith Mullings

Committee Members

Ismael García Colón

John Collins

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In the Dominican Republic, a 2013 Constitutional Tribunal ruling retroactively revoked the citizenship of over 200,000 Dominican nationals of Haitian descent, thus creating the fifth largest stateless population in the world and the largest in the Western Hemisphere. Building upon ethnographic research in the Dominican Republic and New York, as well as literature on race, nation, international human rights law and transnational activism, my dissertation, Reshaping National Imaginations in the Midst of Civil Genocide: Denationalization in the Dominican Republic and Transnational Activism, argues that despite the Dominican government's claim to sovereignty and legitimate legislation, it has designed the civil genocide of Dominicans of Haitian descent with racially discriminatory bureaucratic processes of historical continuity, that simultaneously signal a dangerous turn towards the legalization of clandestine human rights violations. This dissertation lays bare the relevance of state power despite the recent push to portray deterritorialization as a result of globalized processes. This research also posits that the political, economic and social solidarity between activists organizing against statelessness in Dominican Republic and the Dominican diaspora in New York creates innovative collaborative spaces for resistance and resilience, self-determination, demands for Dominican and U.S. state accountability and ultimately alternative national imaginations. Given the rise of several global social movements, including Black Lives Matter, the current election year in the Dominican Republic and the United States and shifts in modes of dispossession, this research puts forth a timely analysis of the increased denial of essential civil liberties, such as the autonomy to exercise one's right to citizenship.

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