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Contextualizing and Negotiating National Identity Through Ideological Fissures: Representations of the Afro Subject in the Dominican Novel, 1936-2006.

Romanowski, Arne (2016) Contextualizing and Negotiating National Identity Through Ideological Fissures: Representations of the Afro Subject in the Dominican Novel, 1936-2006. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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This dissertation’s principal objective is to examine the relationship between race and national belonging in the Dominican Republic, and to illustrate the necessity of moving beyond simplistic binaries when attempting to define and understand the process of Dominican national identity formation. In the analysis, I compare the manner in which the Afro subject—the Haitian, the West Indian cocolo, and the Afro-Dominican—is represented in three sugar-cane novels from the 1930s (General Rafael Trujillo's first decade in power), and in two much more recent works published in a politically less restrictive environment close to the turn of the millennium. The main point of reference for this study is an ideology that defines Haitians—and by extension those that resemble Haitians racially—as the opposite against which Dominicans identify themselves.
My analysis of the representation of the Afro subject relates to the way race-making functions within the chosen narratives—as evidenced by the extent to which these works, on the one hand, participate in this subject’s negative Othering, and on the other hand point to shared socio-historical and geographical spaces, embracing a politics of social justice or an anti-racist agenda. Through a concept referred to as “fissures”—or openings in the ideological fabric of the text—the analysis demonstrates how all five novels are ambivalent regarding their positioning towards the Afro subject's place in the national arena. This type of tension illustrates that the process of constructing concepts of race and consequentially of belonging—essential to Dominican identity formation—is fluid, subjective, and complex, rather than built upon a historically univocal rejection of Haitians. In this way, my study inserts itself in a body of interdisciplinary scholarship demonstrating that a variety of currents and ideologies about race relations, identity formation, and nation building have always coexisted in the Dominican Republic.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Romanowski, Arneromanowski@pitt.eduARR64
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairBranche, Jeromebranche@pitt.eduBRANCHE
Committee MemberDuchesne Winter, Juanduchesne@pitt.eduDUCHESNE
Committee MemberBalderston, Danieldbalder@pitt.eduDBALDER
Committee MemberPuri, Shalinispuri@pitt.eduSPURI
Date: 22 January 2016
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 27 August 2015
Approval Date: 22 January 2016
Submission Date: 20 November 2015
Access Restriction: 5 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 5 years.
Number of Pages: 255
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Hispanic Languages and Literatures
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Latin American Studies, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Dominican Literature, Afro-Caribbean, migration, cocolo, ideology, representation
Date Deposited: 22 Jan 2016 15:51
Last Modified: 22 Jan 2021 06:15


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