Exile, Race, and Gender: Alternative Genealogies of Dominican Culture
A Lecture by Professor Dixa Ramírez
Location: Stanhope Hall 201
Date/Time: 04/30/13 at 12:00 pm - 04/30/13 at 1:20 pm
This event is free, open to the public, and lunch will be served. Space is limited to 20 participants. RSVP to Jennifer Loessy at firstname.lastname@example.org or 609.258.3216 to reserve your seat!
Geographic displacement has been a defining component of Dominican national identity since the nation’s founding in 1844. This should not be surprising considering the historical proliferation of migration in the region. However, Dominican national identity has not been analyzed or understood in this manner. The reason for this oversight is that it is works by women and other marginalized subjects that evoke this long-term, homeland-diaspora continuum, and these texts themselves are often overlooked. By “marginalized subjects,” I refer to those who do not fulfill the normativized gender, race, and class categories befitting a traditional Hispanophilic, patriarchal idea of the Dominican nation. Among these are working-class migrant women who support their families, men who are not considered masculine enough, and non-heterosexual subjects. These texts’ anti-patriarchal and inclusive visions of the nation can be ascribed to their authors’ tenuous relationship to the nation.
This talk is an overview of my book project, which constructs several alternative cultural and literary genealogies of Dominican national identity. Using a materialist cultural studies approach, I address texts by several deceased and living Dominican and Dominican-American writers such as Salomé Ureña, Junot Díaz, and Julia Alvarez, as well as audiovisual material including rare photographs and music by the band Rita Indiana y sus Misterios.
Dixa Ramírez received her PhD in Literature at the University of California, San Diego and her BA from Brown University. Her work focuses on explores the intersections between gender, the construction of national(ist) identity, and geographic displacements in Caribbean literature and culture.
While at CAAS, Ramírez will deepen her manuscript’s engagement with gender to analyze Dominican and diaspora Dominican literature and culture. She is particularly interested in the continuities between traditional and canonical discourses of Dominican masculinities as they were constructed in the late nineteenth-century after the Haitian government of 1822-1844 and the current culture of hyper-masculinity as it is enacted in the diaspora. This research builds on her manuscript’s exploration of how Dominican national identity since the nation’s founding in 1844 has relied not only on racialized gender norms and a patriarchal structure, but also on the geographic displacement in the form of exile or migration of parts of its population. Indeed, the configuration of a national identity, far from being insular, always discursively, if not actually, relied on Dominicans in exile. The Dominican literary tradition, for all its richness and diversity, is patriarchal in its dissemination of the notion that only men can propel socio-cultural change. The resulting standard of value that supports and disseminates this ideology—both nationally and in the Caribbean region—has led to an absence of a proper readership that can actually register discourses and actions existing beyond the paradigm of woman as Land/tradition and men as People/progress.
After concluding her fellowship, Ramírez will begin her appointment as Assistant Professor of Latina/o Literature in the American Studies Program and the Ethnicity, Race, and Migration Program at Yale University.
Department: Center for African American Studies