Book Launch: Dixa Ramírez, “Colonial Phantoms: Belonging and Refusal in the Dominican Americas, from the 19th Century to the Present”

, Petteruti Lounge (Room 201)
Featuring the author

Dixa Ramírez, Assistant Professor of American Studies and English, Brown University

With commentary from
  • Vanessa K. Valdés, Director of the Black Studies Program, and Associate Professor of Spanish and Portuguese, the City College of New York
  • Sarah Jane Cervenak, Associate Professor of African American and African Diaspora Studies and Women’s and Gender Studies, African American and African Diaspora Studies Program, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro
  • Kevin E. Quashie, Professor of English, Brown University
About the book

Colonial Phantoms argues that Dominican cultural expression from the late nineteenth century to the present day reveals the ghosted singularities of Dominican history and demographic composition. For centuries, the territory hosted a majority mixed-race free population whose negotiations with colonial power were deeply ambivalent. Disquieted by the predominating black freedom, Western discourses ghosted—mis-categorized or erased—the Dominican Republic from the most important global conversations and decisions of the 19th century. What kind of national culture do you create when leaders of the world powers, on whose recognition you depend, rarely remember your nation’s name? Dominicans, both island and diasporic, have expressed their dissatisfaction with dominant descriptors and interpellations through literature, music, and speech acts. These expressions run the gamut from ultra-conservative, anti-Haitian nationalist literature to present-day Afro-Latinx activism. Dominant fields of knowledge constructed to account for various modes of being in the Americas have not been able to discern, and, in some cases, have helped to obscure, the kinds of free black subjectivity that emerged in the Dominican Republic. Analyzing literature, government documents, music, the visual arts, public monuments, film, and ephemeral and stage performance, this book intervenes at the level of knowledge production and analysis by disrupting some of the fields. In so doing, it establishes a framework for placing Dominican expressive culture and historical formations at the forefront of a number of scholarly investigations of colonial modernity in the Americas, the African diaspora, geographic displacement (e.g., migration and exile), and international divisions of labor.

Free and open to the public. Book sale, book signing, and reception to follow. 

Presented by the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America (CSREA), the Department of American Studies, and the Department of English.