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Ethnogenesis, Identity and the Dominican Republic, 1844 - Present

by Douglas, Cynthia Marie.

Abstract (Summary)
My dissertation is titled “Ethnogenesis, Identity, and the Dominican Republic, 1844–Present.” The topic is important because of the centuries-long influences of colonialism where peoples’ cultural and political identities are emerging through neocolonial ideologies. The processes of ethnogenesis are embedded in colonialism– enslavement, ethnocide, genocide, and demographic collapse, to name a few. The expansive nature of imperialism has affected the cultural production of identity, to the extent that ethnogenesis can no longer be understood in isolation within particular societies because it operates in sophisticated networks where multilingual and multicultural factions create and re-create distinct identities through a sense of both history and hybridity. The research that I carried out in this study answered crucial questions relevant to a range of issues in the process of identity formation for a cohort of the African Diaspora in the West Indies. Rather than portraying changes as inevitable movements from colonialism to postcolonialism, I placed identity within a much broader scope of understanding in terms of the impact of historical evidence and material culture in the process of ethnogenesis. Probably the most important aspect of my research for academic circles is that it exemplified an example of identity not commonly associated with people of African descent in the Americas. There are significant numbers of Dominican immigrants living in and coming to the United States. These immigrants are socially located within a parameter of classification unlike anything they encountered in the Dominican Republic. My findings 10 demonstrated that dark-skinned individuals do not self-identify as Black in the Dominican Republic yet when placed in the U.S. Diaspora there is many times no other choice than to be labeled Black along with many of its social implications. My findings also showed that although Dominicans have removed themselves from Blackness, they have not collectively detached themselves from distinct influences of their African heritage. To understand the Dominican Republic from the year 1844 to the present, it is necessary to unfold the intricate conditions present within the parameters of independence and dependence, diversity and sameness, and colonial and neo-colonial ideologies, which simultaneously divide and unite the “Self” and “Other.” 11
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School:The University of Arizona

School Location:USA - Arizona

Source Type:Master's Thesis

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