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Racial geopolitics : interrogating Caribbean cultural discourse in the era pf globalization


This dissertation, "Racial Geopolitics: Interrogating Caribbean Cultural Discourse in the Era of Globalization," compares late twentieth-century and twenty-first century representations of Haitian migrants in the Dominican Republic and Dominican migrants in Puerto Rico in light of a public discourse of neoliberal collaboration among these territories. Some cultural and political critics argue that globalization enables political, economic, and cultural regional connections that tend to be limited by nationalist practices. However, xenophobic and racist narratives about intra-Caribbean migrants demonstrate that the nation, as geopolitical and cultural construct, continue to shape how Antilleans experience the international economic structures that characterize the current moment. My analysis is grounded in historical and sociological research, and employs a cultural studies framework to examine literature in dialogue with newspaper articles, ethnic jokes, cybernetic media, political writings/speeches, and musical production. Chapter 1 argues that narratives about Haitian migration to the Dominican Republic speak to the contradictions posed by the subordinate racialized position of these migrants in the workforce and the joint integration of the island in a global market. Chapter 2 examines the racialization and gendering of Dominican migration to Puerto Rico in the context of Dominican and Puerto Rican migrations to/from the U.S. mainland, and recent negotiations of free trade agreements between the United States and Caribbean states. Chapter 3 focuses on 1930s Dominican and Puerto Rican novels to explore how nationalist rhetoric articulated in response to U.S. imperialism in the past illuminates the political dilemmas of the present. Chapter 4 critically engages parallels established in Caribbean political discourse between globalization and mid-nineteenth century proposals for an Antillean Confederation. The conclusion discusses how the short story "Cloud Cover Caribbean" by Ana Lydia Vega represents tense inter-ethnic interactions between three Antilleans in a raft on its way to Miami. It suggests that contemporary cultural and political work for social justice in the region must take into account convergences of colonial, nationalist, and Pan-Antillean discourses in processes of globalization in the circum- Caribbean region

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