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2004-05 Faculty Development Grant
Discovering the Dominican Republic by Ysamur M. Flores-Peña
The Dominican republic occupies two thirds of the island of La Hispaniola. The other one third of the island is Haiti. This past Summer, thanks to the Otis College of Art and Design Faculty Improvement Grant, I traveled to the Dominican Republic to research issues of African folk religions and issues of identity. Haiti and the Dominican Republic have a history of political and cultural tensions dating back to the nineteenth century. After its emancipation from France, Haiti invaded the Dominican Republic and stayed from 1849 to 1850. This invasion not only brought two countries with two distinct colonial histories to a violent encounter it also allowed for the free exchange of traditions and folk practices.
The Dominican Republic embodies all the contradictions of our postmodern Latin American ethos. On one hand celebrating its non Western roots and on the other looking to Spain for validation and identity. There is still much to be learned from the artistic manifestations of this country that in many ways remains at the crossroads of history. I am still in the process of cataloguing all the materials and field notes. I hope I can share my insights with our faculty and students, very soon.