Welcome. “Ethnic Studies Rise” is a public humanities effort to honor the extraordinary contributions of scholar Dr. Lorgia García Peña.
We will accomplish this in two ways: First, through a Roundtable, which will provide resources and entry points to consider the importance of Ethnic Studies to contemporary thought worldwide. Second, via the LorgiaFest, we will share, re-center, and curate a discussion of Dr. García Peña’s work in an effort to raise awareness of its key insights and reach wider audiences. We hope that in engaging with Dr. García Peña, we will also recognize and honor all of those Ethnic Studies scholars who have encountered resistance and retaliation for their timely work, and to the students who need them and fight daily for epistemological insurrection, academic freedom, and justice in the US academy.
Why Ethnic Studies now? What is it? Why is it important? We invited a team of distinguished and experienced scholars from diverse backgrounds to engage each other around these questions. We also asked them to reflect on the relationship of Ethnic Studies to Transnational and Hemispheric American Studies and other established interdisciplinary fields of study—Black Studies, Latinx Studies, Caribbean Studies—and last but not least, to illuminate the nature of Dr. Lorgia García Peña’s timely and original contribution to these fields.
The exchanges happened between two or three scholars in dialogue with each other. To read the exchanges click below.
For this part of our event we invited the public—our colleagues, students, allies—to read or revisit Dr. García Peña’s book, The Borders of Dominicanidad. On the day of the event, folks from all walks of life tweeted a passage or passages of her book using the hashtag #lorgiafest and engaged with each other around García Peña’s work.
To facilitate the event, Duke University Press generously made the electronic version of the book freely available until January 15th, 2020. For those who prefer print, Duke is still offering a 30% discount on the book. To receive your discount use coupon code E19GRCIA during checkout on the Duke Press website.
A nuestros lectores hispanohablantes, los invitamos a leer la introducción al texto de Fronteras de la dominicanidad con el generoso permiso de la casa editorial Centro Bono. La traducción al español será publicada en su integridad por esta casa en la primavera del 2020. Mientras tanto, los invitamos a compartir citas de la introducción este próximo viernes a las 2pm en Twitter.
In The Borders of Dominicanidad: Race, Nation, and Archives of Contradiction, Lorgia García Peña explores the ways official narratives and histories have been projected onto racialized Dominican bodies as a means of sustaining the nation’s borders. García Peña constructs a genealogy of dominicanidad that highlights how Afro-Dominicans, ethnic Haitians, and Dominicans living abroad have contested these dominant narratives and their violent, silencing, and exclusionary effects. Centering the role of U.S. imperialism in drawing racial borders between Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and the United States, she analyzes musical, visual, artistic, and literary representations of foundational moments in the history of the Dominican Republic: the murder of three girls and their father in 1822; the criminalization of Afro-religious practice during the U.S. occupation between 1916 and 1924; the massacre of more than 20,000 people on the Dominican-Haitian border in 1937; and the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. García Peña also considers the contemporary emergence of a broader Dominican consciousness among artists and intellectuals that offers alternative perspectives to questions of identity as well as the means to make audible the voices of long-silenced Dominicans.
Dr. García Peña is the author of The Borders of Dominicanidad: Race, Nation, and Archives of Contradiction (Duke UP, 2016), winner of the 2017 National Women’s Studies Association Gloria E. Anzaldúa Book Prize, the 2016 LASA Latino/a Studies Book Award, and the 2016 Isis Duarte Book Prize in Haiti and Dominican Studies. She has authored articles that have appeared in Kalfou, The Black Scholar, Afro-Hispanic Review, and Caribbean Studies. Her current book, Translating Blackness: Migrations and Detours of Latinx Colonialities in Global Perspectives (Duke UP, forthcoming), focuses on how black Latin American migrants engage in forms of racial translation as they move to and from their home countries, the U.S., and Europe.
“Ethnic Studies Rise” was conceived and brought to fruition by Raj Chetty (San Diego State University) and Katerina Gonzalez Seligmann (Emerson College), in collaboration with Alex Gil (Columbia University). To learn more or answer any question send an email to Dr. Chetty and Dr. Gonzalez Seligmann at email@example.com.
We would like to thank Frances Negrón-Muntaner, Yolanda Martínez-San Miguel, Rosemary Feal, Laurent Dubois, Kaiama Glover and Massiel Torres for feedback and support on this project. Our special thanks to Roopika Risam for going the extra mile in supporting the project behind the scenes and in public. To all of our roundtable participants for helping enrich the conversation in times like these, our admiration and respect. We extend a special thank you note to Ken Wissoker, Courtney Berger, Michael McCullough and Duke University Press for launching a promotion on Borders of Dominicanidad to coincide with our project. To Centro Bono for sharing the spanish introduction to the book prior to publication. Many other collaborators will surely make this what we hope. We thank you in advance. And last, but not least, we would like to thank Lorgia García Peña herself for her tireless work.