Situating Blackness and Antiracism in a Global Frame: Key Works for a Study of the Dominican Republic


  • Elizabeth S. Manley
  • April J. Mayes



This syllabus provides a starting point for those interested in learning and teaching about race and Blackness in the Dominican Republic, both within and beyond the U.S. academic context. While the dominant narrative emerging from the United States tends to cast all Dominicans as both anti-Black and anti-Haitian, the Dominican Republic has a long history of Black liberation that can be understood only if we pay attention to the complicated, nuanced, and historical ways in which race and national identities, as in all places, have been constructed by various groups and forces. This reading list provides a point of departure for understanding the many scholarly and public-facing works in English that have, over the past decade, grappled with these many complications of race, nation, and identity-making. Specifically, it traces the three main frameworks that have become axiomatic in the field for contextualizing Dominican concepts of race and nation: (1) island-wide struggles for sovereignty and emancipation across the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, (2) the powerful forces of neocolonialism that facilitated U.S. occupation of the island in the early twentieth century, and (3) the struggles for modern sovereignty and the legacies of occupation that resulted in dictatorial leadership across Hispaniola, namely by François and Jean-Claude Duvalier in Haiti and Rafael Trujillo and Joaquín Balaguer in the Dominican Republic.