- Fellowship year:2010-2011
- University: New York University
- Dissertation Topic/Category: Latin America
- Dissertation Title: Let's Show The World We Are Brothers: The Dominican War of Restoration and Caribbean Worlds of the Nineteenth Century
This dissertation explores the historical roots of the Dominican Republic's cession back to Spain in 1861 and the subsequent War of Restoration (1863-1865) seeking independence once more. Although slavery had been abolished in Santo Domingo since 1822, their re-annexation to a slave power in 1861 brought questions of slavery, emancipation, and political freedom back to the fore. My project examines the shared aspirations and grievances held by common people across the whole of the island (the Dominican Republic and its neighbor Haiti), the efforts of annexationist elites, and the competing discourses of identity and freedom thrown into sharp relief by renewed colonial rule. By exploring the actions and writing of Spanish administrators and common troops, Dominican citizens, and their Haitian allies during the independence struggle, I demonstrate how the period was important to the political, cultural, and ideological trajectories not just of the island nation, but to would-be citizens throughout the Caribbean and Latin America.
Finally, my project explores the myriad roots of antihaitianisom in the Dominican Republic, arguing that anti-Haitianism in the Dominican Republic is neither a permanent nor inevitable part of the popular history of Hispaniola. Through the period before annexation and especially during the independence fight itself, common Haitians and Dominicans collaborated extensively on both sides of the border in order to fight for their own visions of dignity, autonomy, and political participation. These aspirations defied the prejudices and conflicts of political elites on both sides of the island and have been overwritten in Dominican historiography in particular. Through this project, I argue that the revolutionary legacy of the Haitian peasantry survived well into the mid-nineteenth century and was an integral part of Dominican history as well, one which has been ignored for too long.