- Center for Migration and Development
- PIIRS Migration Lab
- Program in Latino Studies
Lorgia García Peña is the author of The Borders of Dominicanidad: Race, Nations and Archives of Contradictions (Duke University Press, 2016) a study of the impact of stories — historical and fictional — on the national and racial identity of a people. Offering the Dominican experience as case study, this book shows how the stories of a nation create marginality through acts of exclusion. These exclusionary acts are linked to the tensions between colonial desire and the aspiration for political independence. The book also shows how these official stories of exclusion, though influential in shaping a country’s identity, are always contested, negotiated, and even redefined through acts of resistance linked to the tensions between history — what is perceived as evidence of fact — and fiction — what is presumed to be invention: cultural productions, oral histories, and rumors. The Borders of Dominicanidad is the 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.
“Translating Blackness” proposes translation as a metaphor for understanding how dominant ethno-racial labels are used by multiple communities to make visible the historical processes that (re)produce their minoritized subjectivity: colonialism, global capitalism, and migration. At times, as in the case of Black Latinxs in the United States, the translation of blackness has been part of national projects of self-definition vis-à-vis colonial impositions by the United States and Europe. At other times, as in the case of migrants and new Black diasporic sociopolitical movements in Europe and Latin America, translations of blackness summon common historical experiences to garner inclusion and political representation. In this talk based on her forthcoming book (Duke, 2022), García Peña proposes Black Latinidad as an epistemology — a way of understanding and producing knowledge from the site of unbelonging. Based on seven years of qualitative and archival research in multiple sites (U.S., Caribbean, European), the project invites us to think of Black Latinidad not only as an embodied identity or a social construct but a point of entry and set of methods that moves us beyond homogeneous concepts of racial and citizenship exclusion.
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