Una primera aproximación a la poesía dominicana reciente
Adalber Salas Hernández, PhD Candidate at the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, NYU
La poesía dominicana reciente circula por caminos oblicuos. Aparte de los eventos donde la palabra escrita se hace hablada (conciertos, recitales, eventos de spoken word como aquellos a los que me referí en el post anterior), el acceso a la palabra escrita e impresa es más complejo: muchos de los libros de la generación más reciente de poetas dominicanos han sido publicados en el exterior, por lo que circulan de manera excepcionalmente irregular. Pienso, por ejemplo, en el caso de Ariadna Vásquez Germán, varios de cuyos libros han sido publicados en Puerto Rico o en México. O el caso de Alejandro González Luna, cuyo segundo libro fue publicado recientemente en España. Esto permite que la joven poesía dominicana sea difundida en el exterior, lo cual sin duda es positivo, pero el circuito no es circular: ejemplares de esos libros no suelen llegar al país. Por otro lado, la Editora Nacional, que se encarga de la impresión de los libros ganadores de los concursos organizados por instancias gubernamentales (y que han sido ganados, en momentos distintos, por los poetas que acabo de mencionar) ciertamente podría distribuir con mayor regularidad.
by Saudi Garcia (Department of Anthropology Doctoral Student)
Activity buzzed around me in the nearly empty-space of the salon floor as I sat on a small stool and managed the phone line, cellphone and the locked glass door. At 10 AM, a call rang through the landline and on the other side, a young woman began speaking through what I sensed were tears. “Can I speak with Carolina?” She asked. In that moment, I was unable to immediately transfer her to Carolina Contreras, the owner of Miss Rizos salon and a public figure in what is the growing natural hair movement in the Dominican Republic. Instead, I asked if there is anything that I can do to help. I wrote her phone number and the details of her story in my cellphone and passed it on to Carolina via text message.
The woman on the other end of the line was Fátima Gónzalez Méndez (aka Nicky) a political science student from the Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo. After applying and being accepted to her program of choice and being notified of receiving the scholarship, only to have it withdrawn, Nicky decided to lobby at MESCYT for a scholarship that would enable her to study and live in the Basque Country, Spain. On the morning of July 26th Nicky had gone to the office of the minister of higher education in Science and Technology (MESCYT) in Santo Domingo to lobby. In her words, the minister in charge of the scholarship selection process, Ligia Amada Melo, dismissed her efforts to obtain a scholarship, telling her that she does not give scholarship to people with “pelo como tu” (“Hair like yours”).
Nicky has afro-textured hair, a copper-colored Afro that halos around her face. The implications of the statement by this public figure were immediately interpreted to be discriminatory against people who wear their hair in curly or afro styles. This form of discrimination is common in the Dominican Republic where women, girls and men experience exclusion in various sectors of public life due to their appearance.
photo courtesy of verne.elpais.com
Until 2013, the Junta Central Electoral forced women with afro and curly hair to straighten it for their national ID card pictures. Female bank tellers offering customer service at the country’s major banks are barred from wearing their hair natural and other women have been denied entry into commercial establishments for similar reasons. Young men in poor neighborhoods are arrested and their hair is shaved as a standard policing tactic. In May and July, several young women took to social media to denounce being denied entry to their schools because they refused to straighten their hair. These restrictions are often upheld in the name of “buena presencia” or good appearance. However, they are indicative of the translucent coating of respectability politics that permeate life in Dominican, and Caribbean, society.
By: Amanda Alcantara, MA Candidate at CLACS
When I decided to do research on women in the Dominican-Haitian border, I sought to focus on identity, especifically racial identity. Nothing would prepare me for what I learned, what I saw, the diversity and similarity in the stories of the 25+ women whom I interviewed mostly from Dajabón, Dominican Republic but also from Ouanaminthe, Haiti. The topic of my research was changed by these narratives.
Gloria Anzaldúa writes about borderlands as a place of violence, pain, and una “herida abierta”. She wrote of the border as parallel to her own body as a woman: her body is a place of violence and pain too. The Dominican-Haitian border divided by el Río Masacre—a name that signifies a deep wound still fresh in the elder’s minds—is no different than this. The women of this particular border have their own stories too, their own stories of the type of violence that is very specific to women, and their own stories of resilience.
The border entrance from Dajabón to Ouanaminthe.
My name is Saudi Garcia and I am a first year doctoral student in the NYU Department of Anthropology. My research interests lie at the intersection of race, gender, practice theory and digital media activism. This summer, I will be researching the natural hair movement in the Dominican Republic, historicizing and documenting the collection of people, places and digital spaces that together amount to a force that is visibly shifting Dominican society and culture. I will be talking to individuals about the impact that “going natural” has had on their lives, the lives of their families and Dominican society at large.
The Dominican racial difference paradox: Many different skin tones, one accepted and expected hair texture.
While much has been written about policies and norms that point to “black denial” in the Dominican Republic, few monographs have substantially covered the emerging efforts to develop Afro-identification and pride in the country. My work this summer involves learning about the journeys and struggles of the women (and men) who embrace natural hair in a place where wearing hair curly or afro has been interpreted as an act of rebellion that belies the Eurocentric aesthetic standards that have long been the norm among Dominicans.
Posted by Amanda Moreno – MA/MSLIS Candidate at CLACS and The Palmer School of Library and Information Science at Long Island University – Manhattan
Graffiti on Calle César Nicolás Pensón and Avenida Máximo Gómez demanding the expulsion of Haitians from Dominican Republic. Photo by Amanda Moreno, May 2015.
I noticed the graffiti on my way to dinner the night I arrive in the Dominican Republic. Outside of what I later learned is the equivalent of a papal embassy in Santo Domingo’s upper middle class neighborhood of Gazcue, the haphazard stenciling connotes an all too common message to Haitians living on the eastern two-thirds of the island of Hispaniola: get out, you are not wanted here. Continue reading
In keeping align with my methodological approach utilizing multimedia to conduct collaborative ethnography; the latest installments of the project were interview workshops. In general, skill development workshops are a major component of this project. The workshops focus on creative reconnaissance and technological skill building activities. The participants and I work together (and with local experts) to learn more about different aspects of photography, video, and audio equipment and techniques, editing programs, blogging, creative writing, and more. Furthermore, another purpose of the meetings and workshops is to familiarize the participants with the greater New York City area.
Last week, I met with the young ladies, in groups of two, at Washington Square in Manhattan. Throughout the day, each participant was able to enter and observe New York University’s Bobst Library (where they were granted limited access to the stacks and facility!), the Tisch School of Art’s ITP lab (the Interactive Telecommunications Program, where we borrow the 5D camera and audio recording equipment), and the CLACS office and rooms (the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, where the footage was actually recorded). Each pair played artistic directors in setting the stage for their interview session. Unfortunately, a light decided to begin its slow, blinking decline during the “talk show” style interview, but the cameras kept rolling in order to maintain the “flow” of the conversation. Claritza and Valin decided that a conversation style would be the most comfortable and effective approach. Continue reading
This summer, the Council on Latin American and Iberian Studies (CLAIS) at the Whitney and Betty MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies at Yale, the Yale Programs in International Education Resources (PIER) and the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (CLACS) at NYU partnered on a summer institute for educators. Titled Colonial Latin America, the institute was available to educators and any member of the general public interested in learning about the latest research on colonialism and modern-day impacts of it in Latin America.
This summer institute, the first-ever collaboration between CLACS Outreach Initiatives, Yale CLAIS, and Yale PIER, consisted of a week-long workshop and an optional week-long trip to the Dominican Republic. Participants then created curricular materials based on what they learned. These curricular materials are now freely available for use via the CLACS website, included in a wide collection of resources for educators around the world who want to enrich their instruction content with more Latin American topics.
Curricular materials developed through this institute include:
– Settlements and Colonial Cities in the Andean Region
– Revisiting the Past: Understanding Identity and Practicing the Past Tenses through Historical Investigation
– Colonial Power and Indigenous Resistance in Art