In zones of contact (combat): Dominican narratives of migration and displacements in the United States and Puero Rico
The assassination of the Dominican dictator Rafael Leonidas Trujillo in 1961 marked the beginning of many rebirths for the Dominican Republic. Confronted with the growing pains of an emerging democratic national consciousness, the island was also faced with an unprecedented circumstance: a massive exodus that displaced thousands of Dominicans to the United States and Puerto Rico. My dissertation focuses on contemporary narrative representations of Dominican migrations to the United States and Puerto Rico. In chapter 1, "A Product of Exiles, Travels and Displacements: The Constructions of an Ethnic and Racial Consciousness in the United States in Pedro Henríquez Ureña's Memoir," I propose my own working definition of a Dominican transnational subjectivity at the beginning of the 20th century as I see it surfacing in Henríquez Ureña's memoir. In chapter two, "With Floating (Intranational) Borders: Displaced Dominicans in Puerto Rican Narratives," I explore the narrative representation of Dominican migrations to Puerto Rico and the challenges they bring about to the Puerto Rican national discourse constituted in the late 1930s. This chapter analyzes José Luis González's La luna no era de queso: memorias de infancia (1988), Ana Lydia Vega's "El día de los hechos" from her short story collection Encancaranublado y otros cuentos de naufragio (1982) and Magali García Ramis's "Cuatro retratos urbanos" from the short story collection Las noches del riel de oro (1995). In chapter three, "Of Absent (nomadic) Fathers and Boys in Construction: Dominican Diasporic Subjectivities in Junot Díaz's Drown," I analyze the short story collection titled Drown (1993) by Junot Díaz. My reading of Diaz's work interprets his characters as gravitating towards communities in which they become active components of multi-racial and multi-ethnic communities fostered by global migrations. In the last chapter, "Crooked City Women: A Reading of Race, Ethnicity and Migration in Narratives of Late 20th and 21st Century Dominican Women writers," I focus on Loida Martiza Pérez's novel Geographies of Home (1999) and Josefina Báez's performance piece Dominicanish (2000) to illustrate how their work challenges patriarchal forms of expression that are rooted in the homeland and then disseminated in U.S. diasporic Dominican communities.