Date of Degree

9-2018

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Program

Latin American, Iberian and Latino Cultures

Advisor

Araceli Tinajero

Committee Members

Elena Martínez

Juan Carlos Mercado

Subject Categories

Ethnic Studies | Latin American Languages and Societies | Latin American Literature | Latina/o Studies | Race, Ethnicity and Post-Colonial Studies | Spanish Literature

Keywords

Dominican Diaspora, Dominican Literature, Blackness in Dominican Literature, Haitian in Dominican Literature, Dominican-Haitian Relationship. Caribbean Literature

Abstract

This thesis analyzes the diverse representations of blackness and Haitian culture in the literary works of the Dominican diaspora. First, the texts of the Dominican diaspora that highlight Africa are analyzed in order to determine to what extent these works represent real historical and social phenomena accurately, and in what ways these texts question or present other realities that have not been studied by the critics. It may be said that the writers of the diaspora allude to their African heritage because it was in the United States that they discovered their true racial identities. It is because of this that their literary works, far from erasing Africa, praise their African roots. In order to more deeply understand the literary works of the Dominican diaspora, I set out to find to what extent they share the attitude of other diasporic populations toward their experiences outside their native land and cohabitation with others, such as African-American people, and engage in conversations about all that has been neglected, rejected, and discriminated against in their native land.

In addition, I analyze the diasporic texts that represent Haiti, always referring to historical facts that shape the conflicting relationship between the Dominican Republic and Haiti, two countries sharing the same island but confronted by nature.

The coexistence between the Dominican Republic and Haiti has always included conflict. Haiti occupied the whole island in 1822 and left when Dominicans gained their independence in 1844. A series of measures implemented during the occupation to impose Haitian culture was used by the press and successive governments to promote hatred against Haitians, and to stir up hostility toward the blacks of the neighboring region. As a consequence, Dominican culture encourages upward mobility and a dominant culture based on the erroneous belief in the superiority of the Hispanic, to the point that successive governments through history have developed practices to present Haitians as persons to be shunned. But the texts analyzed here show that the diaspora challenges that position and the way Dominicans reject their blackness. Lastly, the diaspora perceives Haitians in the Dominican Republic as immigrants facing the same discriminatory obstacles that Dominican immigrants face in the United States.

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