Bringing Dominican History from the Footnote to the Center of the Page


  • Elizabeth S. Manley



Through her scholarship, pedagogy, and activism, Lorgia García-Peña has fought for a centering of Dominicans and Dominican studies, dominicanidad, and the island of Hispaniola itself in larger scholarly and public imaginations. Particularly in the aftermath of Harvard’s intellectually marginalizing decision to deny tenure to García-Peña, her work continues to remind us what we risk losing by not engaging with her set of intertwined practices of centering. She implores us to address the Dominican “footnote condition” but also to think about how this condition afflicts other areas of study. In this article I argue that García-Peña’s academic contributions, particularly around this centering practice, have highlighted the relevance of the island to key concerns of history as a discipline but also how the recent, expanding literature on Hispaniola and “transnational Hispaniola” underscores its significance in a more inclusive, interdisciplinary, and pedagogically grounded approach to our collective pasts and presents in the university, in the nation-state, and on the globe. I argue that it is intellectually and pedagogically crucial that we stop allowing Hispaniola and its diaspora to be allocated such a marginalized place in academia, and I point to the ways we can use García-Peña’s work—on the page and embodied—to think about a more holistic understanding of the island’s scholarly and contemporary impact.





Symposium on the Scholarship and Teaching of Lorgia García-Peña