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Maja Horn and Kaiama Glover, Instructors 

Course Description

In spring 2013 Kaiama L. Glover (French/Africana) and Maja Horn (Spanish/Africana), taught for the first time the Critical Inquiry Lab “Transnational Hispaniola: Haiti and the Dominican Republic.” Underlying this semester-long inquiry was the interrogation of what it means to be a scholar of the Caribbean in the face of the region’s fundamental multilingualism and, consequently, to what extent Caribbean studies are reliant on practices of literal and metaphorical translation. We approached this question by studying the complex historical and often tense relations between Haiti and the Dominican Republic, two nations that share the island of Hispaniola. This first iteration of our Critical Inquiry Lab took the form of two separate First-Year Seminars with a shared set of theoretical and historical questions and overlapping syllabi and with about a fourth of the meetings held as a joint session.

A second, more advanced iteration of our “Transnational Hispaniola” Lab was developed as a junior colloquium for Africana Studies, which we will team-teach in the spring of 2015. In addition to re-designing the bi-weekly syllabi for a weekly seminar format, we also undertook an extensive revision of the materials for the course during the summer of 2014.  Most importantly, we were able to support the translation of texts for the upper-level Lab so as to teach the course simultaneously to students of both French and Spanish. Following a recently instituted model at NYU for teaching the Caribbean through a combined seminar and speaker-series (“Whither the Caribbean,” co-taught by Prof. Sibylle Fischer and Prof. Ada Ferrer), the course was supplemented with lectures from four local scholars from different disciplinary fields who provided a series of public talks at Barnard College during the spring of 2015.

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Maja Horn and Kaiama Glover, Instructors

Course Overview

Week 1: Course Introductions

  • “Edwidge Danticat & Bernardo Vega discuss the 1937 Massacre” (2004)

Week 2: Haitian-Dominican border crises 1937 and 2013

  • Richard Lee Turits, “A World Destroyed, A Nation Imposed: The 1937 Haitian Massacre in the Dominican Republic,” Hispanic American Historical Review, 82:3 (2002): 589-635.
  • “Dominicans of Haitian Descent Cast into Legal Limbo by Court,” New York Times, 10/24/2013 (and online readers’ comments).
  • “Two Versions of a Dominican Tale,” New York Times, 10/31/2013.
  • “Dominican Republic Passes Law for Migrant’s Children,” New York Times, 5/22/2014.
  • Miriam Neptune, Birthright Crisis (film) 15”
  • Silvio Torres-Saillant, “Gaps in the Black Atlantic,” “The Genesis of Blackness,” “Racial Awareness: The Paradox of Language versus Action,” “Deracialized Black Consciousness and Negrophobia,” in Introduction to Dominican Blackness (2010): 1-5, 22-7.

Week 3: Colonial Hispaniola and Digital Timeline Workshop

  • “Letter to Luis Santangel,” “Jean-Jacques Dessalines Attacks,” “Hispaniola by the Mid-Sixteenth Century,” “The Devastation of the Colony,” in The Dominican People: A Documentary History, Eds. Ernesto Sagás and Orlando Inoa (2003): 15pp.
  • Richard Lee Turits, “Freedom in el Monte: From Slaves to Independent Peasants in Colonial Santo Domingo,” in Foundations of Despotism: Peasants, the Trujillo Regime, and Modernity in Dominican History (2003): 25-44.
  • Silvio Torres-Saillant, “The Spreading of Blackness: The Fall of the Plantation,” “Deracialized Consciousness and the Rise of The Mulatto,” in Introduction to Dominican Blackness (2010): 8-12; 30-3.
  • Moreau de Saint Méry, Description topographique, physique, civile, politique et historique de la partie française de lisle Saint-Domingue (Philadelphia, 1797): sel.
  • The Black Code (1825).

Week 4: Haitian Revolution and The “Reunification” of Hispaniola

  • Sibylle Fischer, “Memory, Trauma, History,” in Modernity Disavowed: Haiti and the Cultures of Slavery in the Age of Revolution (2004): 131-9.
  • Anne Eller, “‘Awful Pirates’ and ‘Hordes of Jackals’: Santo Domingo/The Dominican Republic in Nineteenth Century Historiography,” Small Axe 18.2 (2014): 80-94.
  • Michel-Rolph Trouillot, “An Unthinkable History,” Silencing the Past (1995): 70-107.
  • Laurent Dubois and John D. Garrigus, Slave Revolution in the Caribbean (1789-1804): a brief history with documents (2006): sel.

Public Lecture–Sibylle Fischer (New York University)

Week 5: Nationalisms and Other Founding Fictions

  • Jean Price-Mars, “Preface” “Popular Beliefs,” in So Spoke the Uncle (1928): 35-54.
  • April J. Mayes, “Debating Dominicanidad in the Nineteenth Century,” in The Mulatto Republic: Class, Race, and National Identity (2014): 15-35.
  • Ginetta Candelario, “It is Said that Haiti Is Getting Blacker and Blacker: Traveling Narratives of Dominican Identity,” in Black Behind the Ears: Dominican Racial Identity from Museums to Beauty Shops (2007): 35-82.
  • Michel-Rolph Trouillot, “Culture, Color, and Politics in Haiti,” Race (1996): 146-74.

Week 6: US Imperial Interventions and Their Gendered Implications

  • Mary Renda, “Preface” and “Introduction,” in Taking Haiti: Military Occupation and the Culture of U.S. Imperialism (1915-1940) (2001): 1-36.
  • Bruce Calder, “Introduction” and “Epilogue” in The Impact of Intervention (1984):11-32; 238-52.
  • Maja Horn, “The Impact of U.S. Gendered and Racialized Ideologies,” in Masculinity after Trujillo: The Politics of Gender in Dominican Literature (2014): 24-8.

Public Lecture–Raphael Dalleo (Bucknell University)

Week 7: Dictatorships: Race-based State Formations

  • Lauren Derby, “Introduction,” “Black Men in Uniform,” in The Dictator’s Seduction: Politics and the Popular Imagination in the Era of Trujillo (2009): 1-12; 194-202.
  • Néstor E. Rodríguez, “The Trujillista City,” in Divergent Dictions: Contemporary Dominican Literature (2011): 25-34.
  • Pedro San L. Miguel, “Peña Batlle: “Spanishness” Under Siege,” in Imagined Islands: History, Identity, and Utopia in Hipaniola (2005): 52-62.
  • Matthew J. Smith, “Now Both Sides of the Hand Have a Chance: Noirisme and Opposition under Estimé,” Red and Black in Haiti: Radicalism, Conflict, and Political Change 1934-1957 (2009): 103-48.

Week 8: Literary Engagements with Dictatorship

  • Maja Horn, “One Phallus for Another: Post-dictatorship Political and Literary Canons,” in Masculinity after Trujillo: The Politics of Gender in Dominican Literature (2014): 50-7.
  • Marcio Veloz Maggiolo, “The Path to the Ministry,” Remaking a Lost Harmony: Stories from the Hispanic Caribbean (1995), eds. Margarita Fernández Olmos and Lizabeth Paravisini-Gebert. 57-64.
  • Pedro Peix, “Requiem for A Wreathless Corpse,” Remaking a Lost Harmony, 119-36.
  • Viriato Sención, The Who Forged the Signature of God (1993): sel.
  • Rene Depestre, Festival of the Greasy Pole. sel.

Week 9: Dictatorships: State Feminisms?

  • Lauren Derby, “The Dictator’s Seduction: Gender and State Spectacle during the Trujillo Regime,” Callaloo 23.3 (2000): 1112-46.
  • April J. Mayes, “Why Dominican Feminism Moved to the Right: Class, Colour and Women’s Activism in the Dominican Republic, 1880s-1940s,” Gender & History 20.2 (2008): 349-71.
  • Carolle Charles, “Gender and Politics in Contemporary Haiti: The Duvalierist State, Transnationalism, and the Emergence of a New Feminism (1980-1990),” Feminist Studies 21.1 (spring 1995): 135-64.

Public Lecture–Ginetta Candelario (Smith College)

Week 10: Women’s Voices

  • Myriam Chancy, “The Stories We Cannot Tell,” in From Sugar to Revolution: Women’s Visions of Haiti, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic (2012): 1-50.
  • Maryse Condé, “Order, Disorder, Freedom, and the West Indian Writer,” Yale French Studies 83 (1993): 121-35.
  • Colin Dayan, “Erzulie: a Women’s History of Haiti,” Research in African Literatures 25.2 (summer 1994): 5-31.
  • Marie Vieux Chauvet, Love, Anger, Madness, sel.
  • Kaiama L. Glover, “‘Black’ Radicalism in Haiti and the Disorderly Feminine: The Case of Marie Vieux Chauvet,” Small Axe (March 2013): 7-21.
  • Short stories by Aurora Arias, Angela Hernández, Aída Cartagena-Portalatín, Sherezade Vicioso, in Common Threads: Themes in Afro-Hispanic Women’s Literature (1998), ed. Clementina R. Adams, sel.
  • Praises and Offenses: Three Women Poets from The Dominican Republic (2009): sel.

Week 11: Haitians Writing in The Diaspora

  • Gina Ulysse, VooDooDoll, What if Haiti Were a Woman (performance piece).
  • Edwidge Danticat, The Dew Breaker (2004): sel.

Public Lecture–Gina Athena Ulysse (Wesleyan University) 

Week 12: Dominicans Writing in The Diaspora

  • Danny Méndez, “Emotional Creolization within Dominican Narratives of Migration: The Affective Life of the Diasporic Subject,” in Narratives of Migration and Displacement in Dominican Literature (2012): 1-13.
  • Julia Alvarez, How the García Girls Lost Their Accent (1991): sel.
  • Josefina Báez, “In Inglis,” “Frontispice,” “Dominicanish: A Performance Text,” Dominicanish (2000): 6, 13-14, 21-49.
  • Junot Díaz, Drown (1998): sel., “Monstro,” New Yorker (2012), This is How You Lose Her (2013): sel.

Week 13: Queer Voices

  • Mark Padilla, “Global Sexual Spaces and Their Hierarchies” in Caribbean Pleasure Industry: Tourism, Sexuality, and AIDS in the Dominican Republic (2007): 28-45.
  • Carlos U. Decena,“Tacit Subjects,” in Tacit Subjects: Belonging and Same-Sex Desire among Dominican Immigrant Men (2011): 17-38.
  • Ana-M. Lara, Erzulie’s Skirt (2006): sel.
  • Myriam Chancy, Spirit of Haiti (2004): sel.
  • Omise’eke Natasha Tinsley, “Blue Countries, Dark Beauty: Opaque Desires in the poetry of Ida Faubert,” in Thiefing Sugar: Eroticism Between Women in Caribbean Literature (2010): 102-35.

Public Lecture–Carlos U. Decena (Rutgers University)

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Related Events

Teaching and Writing Hispaniola: Haiti and the Dominican Republic, a lecture by Kaiama L. Glover and Maja Horn – 4/18/13

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Faculty Profiles

Kaiama Glover is Associate Professor of French and Africana Studies at Barnard College. Read Glover’s full faculty profile.

Maja Horn is Associate Professor of Spanish & Latin American Cultures and Chair of the Department of Spanish & Latin American Cultures at Barnard College. Read Horn’s full faculty profile.

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