Dr. Vanessa K. Valdés donates edited volume to the CUNY DSI library

We are grateful to Dr. Vanessa K. Valdés, Associate Provost and esteemed scholar who purchased and donated a copy of her book: Racialized Visions: Haiti and the Hispanic Caribbean (SUNY Press, SUNY series, Afro-Latinx Futures 2020) to the CUNY Dominican Studies Institute Library. 

Racialized Visions: Haiti and the Hispanic Caribbean is the first volume in English to explore the cultural impact of Haiti on the surrounding Spanish-speaking nations of Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico.

Valdes book

To check Dr. Valdés's most recent project, please visit the exhibition: Juan de Pareja, Afro-Hispanic Painter at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET) in New York City. To learn more about the exhibit, please click here

By Prof. Sarah Aponte and Librarian Jhensen Ortiz

Delightful Visit and Conversation with Gina B Voices

It was a pleasure meeting and spending time with Gina Bess-Bonilla who shared information about her family history, including Dominican musician Ramón E. García (1907-1989).

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From left to right: Dr. Vanessa K. Valdés, Prof. Sarah Aponte, Gina Bess-Bonilla, and Librarian Jhensen Ortiz, April 3, 2023

To see photos that feature Ramón E. García, you can visit A History of Dominican Music in the United States website:

  1. Press photo of Ramón García's band the Conjunto Típico Cibao, please click here
  2. Ramón García with Angel Viloria y su Conjunto Típico Cibaeño performing at the legendary Palladium Ballroom in New York City with Haydee Malagon in 1953, please click here
  3. Ramón García with Dominican bandleader Josecito Roman and his orchestra Quisqueya in 1949, including his brothers Brunito Garcia (1905-unknown), José Garcia (1904-1965), Tito Garcia, Nino Garcia, sisters Ana Luisa (1905-2002) and Ligia García (1921-2005), please click here
  4. Ramón García with brother Brunito Garcia and Dominican percussionist Luis Quintero in Washington D.C. at the Dominican embassy in 1953, please click here 
  5. Front cover of the concert program for the "Merengue Songbook/Cancionero del Merengue" which took place on September 29, 1951, please click here
  6. Press photo of Angel Viloria y su Conjunto Típico Cibaeño where Ramón García is pictured with the alto saxophone, please click here

 Gina Bess-Bonilla is the voice narrator for the exhibition Juan de Pareja, Afro-Hispanic Painter at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET) in New York City. To learn more and hear the Audio Guide, please click here. The exhibit was co-curated by Dr. Vanessa K. Valdés, Associate Provost at the City College of New York (pictured above).

By Prof. Sarah Aponte and Librarian Jhensen Ortiz

Dr. Norma Fuentes-Mayorga donates latest publication to CUNY DSI Library

We would like to thank Dr. Norma Fuentes-Mayorga, Associate Professor in Sociology and Latin American and Latina/o Studies at the Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership, The City College of New York for donating her recent publications to the CUNY Dominican Studies Institute Library.

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Dr. Norma Fuentes-Mayorga signing a copy of her PhD dissertation for the library. 
Prof. Sarah Aponte and Prof. Fuentes-Mayorga
Prof. Sarah Aponte with Dr. Norma Fuentes-Mayorga holding a copy of her recent book and PhD dissertation on April 4, 2023.

We are grateful that Prof. Fuentes-Mayorga donated a copy of her PhD dissertation back in 2005 and has now signed and dedicated a copy of her recent book From Homemakers to Breadwinners to Community Leaders: Migrating Women, Class, and Color (Rutgers University Press, 2023) to the CUNY Dominican Studies Institute Library.

In addition, she shared her recent article: "Migraciones sin hombres y en contextos racializados. Contribuciones de las mujeres
dominicanas migrantes a las comunidades de origen y de destino," Ronddhha (Revista del Centro Internacional para la Promoción de los Derechos Humanos, CIPDH-UNESCO), N0. 1, Vol. 1, Feb. 2023, 98-103. You can read the article by clicking here.

We are are grateful for her support!

By Prof. Sarah Aponte and Librarian Jhensen Ortiz

New Acquisitions in the CUNY Dominican Studies Institute Library

A glimpse at some of the titles we have acquired for the library.

CUNY Dominican Studies Institute Library is always busy making new acquisitions available to our patrons. To start the semester, we want to share the books that were recently made part of our permanent library collection. Don't forget: you can always visit us in person to read these titles!

Here are some recent titles that the CUNY Dominican Studies Institute Library has acquired with abstracts provided by the publishers:

What’s coming to me. Francesca Padilla. Soho Teen, 2022.

Debut novel by queer Dominican-American fiction writer Francesca Padilla.

“After the ice cream stand where she works is robbed, seventeen-year-old Minerva Gutiérrez plans to get revenge on her predatory boss while navigating grief, anger, and dreams of escape from her dead-end hometown.”

Crossing Waters: undocumented migration in Hispanophone Caribbean and Latinx literature and art. Marisel C. Moreno. University of Texas Press, 2022.

Marisel C. Moreno is the Rev. John A. O'Brien Associate Professor in the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures at the University of Notre Dame.

“Debates over the undocumented migration of Latin Americans invariably focus on the southern US border, but most migrants never cross that arbitrary line. Instead, many travel, via water, among the Caribbean islands. The first study to examine literary and artistic representations of undocumented migration within the Hispanophone Caribbean, Crossing Waters relates a journey that remains silenced and largely unknown. Analyzing works by novelists, short-story writers, poets, and visual artists replete with references to drowning and echoes of the Middle Passage, Marisel Moreno shines a spotlight on the plight that these migrants face. In some cases, Puerto Rico takes on a new role as a stepping-stone to the continental United States and the society migrants will join there. Meanwhile the land border between Haiti and the Dominican Republic, the only terrestrial border in the Hispanophone Caribbean, emerges as a complex space within this cartography of borders. And while the Border Patrol occupies US headlines, the Coast Guard occupies the nightmares of refugees. An untold story filled with beauty, possibility, and sorrow, Crossing Waters encourages us to rethink the geography and experience of undocumented migration and the role that the Caribbean archipelago plays as a border zone.”

How not to drown in a glass of water. Angie Cruz. Flatiron books, 2022.

Angie Cruz is an American novelist and associate professor at the University of Pittsburgh, where she teaches in the M.F.A. program.

"From the beloved author of Dominicana, a GMA Book Club Pick and Women's Prize Finalist, an electrifying and indelible new novel about a woman who has lost everything but the chance to finally tell her story. Write this down: Cara Romero wants to work. Cara Romero thought she would work at the factory of little lamps for the rest of her life. But when, in her mid-50s, she loses her job in the Great Recession, she is forced back into the job market for the first time in decades. Set up with a job counselor, Cara instead begins to narrate the story of her life. Over the course of twelve sessions, Cara recounts her tempestuous love affairs, her alternately biting and loving relationships with her neighbor Lulu and her sister Angela, her struggles with debt, gentrification and loss, and, eventually, what really happened between her and her estranged son, Fernando. As Cara confronts her darkest secrets and regrets, we see a woman buffeted by life but still full of fight. Structurally inventive and emotionally kaleidoscopic, How Not to Drown in a Glass of Water is Angie Cruz's most ambitious and moving novel yet, and Cara is a heroine for the ages.”

The border of lights reader: bearing witness to genocide in the Dominican Republic. Megan Jeanette Myers and Edward Paulino. Amherst College Press, 2021.

Megan Jeanette Myers is an Associate Professor of Spanish at Iowa State University and Edward Paulino is assistant professor of global history at John Jay College, City University of New York. He is a cofounder of Border of Lights, an organization that commemorates the anniversary of the 1937 genocidal Haitian massacre and promotes solidarity.

“Border of Lights, a volunteer collective, returns each October to Dominican-Haitian border towns to bear witness to the 1937 Haitian Massacre ordered by Dominican dictator Rafael Leónidas Trujillo. This crime against humanity has never been acknowledged by the Dominican government and no memorial exists for its victims. A multimodal, multi-vocal space for activists, artists, scholars, and others connected to the BOL movement, The Border of Lights Reader provides an alternative to the dominant narrative that positions Dominicans and Haitians as eternal adversaries and ignores cross-border and collaborative histories. This innovative anthology asks large-scale, universal questions regarding historical memory and revisionism that countries around the world grapple with today.”

Jhensen Ortiz, Librarian


Professor Nelson Santana launches a new exhibition documenting Transnational Dominican Activism in the 21st Century

Prof. Nelson Santana blog post
Professor Nelson Santana standing in front of the exhibition “Transnational Dominican Activism” at Bronx Community College Library.

A new exhibit in Bronx Community College (BCC) showcases the transnational activism by the Dominican population in the cities of New York, Santo Domingo, and Santiago between 2009 and 2020. Titled “Transnational Dominican Activism: Documenting Grassroots Social Movements through ESENDOM,” the exhibit opened on October 27th, 2022 at Bronx Community College Library second floor.

The exhibition opening featured a panel discussion with BCC Dean of Academic Affairs Luis Montenegro, Professor Emma Antobam-Ntekudzi, Professor Nelson Santana, Chief Librarian Michael Miller, and ESENDOM’s personnel Emmanuel Espinal and John Carrero.

A recording of the panel can be viewed by clicking here.

“Transnational Dominican Activism” features the work of ESENDOM’s team of collaborators, including Amaury Rodríguez, John Carrero, Lorena Espinoza Peña, Emmanuel Espinal, and Nelson Santana. ESENDOM is a digital cultural platform founded by Emmanuel Espinal and Nelson Santana “that interweaves what we love about Dominican culture with current and past social issues that affect the Dominican community today.” This bilingual platform has documented many aspects of Dominicans and their communities through articles, interviews, oral histories, photographs, and videos. In addition, the team provides commentary on the political landscape and popular culture as it relates to the Dominican transnational community.

Transnational Dominican Activism is curated by Professor Nelson Santana, a former assistant librarian and archivist at the CUNY Dominican Studies Institute (2007-2014). He is now Deputy Chief, Assistant Professor and collection development librarian at Bronx Community College of The City University of New York (CUNY) where he leads the library’s efforts in all aspects of acquisitions and collection development.

Learn more by exploring the accompanying digital exhibition.

We invite you to check out this exhibition and recommend it to students, researchers, professors, and the public concerned about government corruption, police brutality, violence toward women, anti-abortion legislation, and many other social causes as it manifests in resistance over time.

The exhibition is currently on display through 2023* at Bronx Community College Library.

For more information, connect with Professor Santana at [email protected] or on Twitter at @elprofe_santana

Jhensen Ortiz, Librarian

Thank you to Dr. Alsace for her recent book donation

Book Donation with Dr. Tamara Alsace Oct 21st
Dr. Tamara Alsace with the three publications she donated to the library.

Dr. Tamara Alsace generously donated the following rare and out of print publications to our CUNY Dominican Studies Institute Library when visiting City College this Fall semester:

Patín Maceo, Manuel A. Dominicanismos. Ciudad Trujillo, R.D.: Librería Dominicana, 1947.

Valera Benítez, Rafael. ¡Complot Develado! Ciudad Trujillo, R.D.: Editora Hándicap, 1960.

Alsace Pacheco, Juan Arturo. Arturo Logroño un orador de América: selección de anécdotas personales, discursos conferencias y páginas selecta. Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, s.n. 1987.


We want to thank Dr. Alsace for her thoughtful donation and we look forward to sharing these sources with our library users.

Jhensen Ortiz, Librarian

Digitizing and Documenting the African American Presence in Samaná, Dominican Republic

‘We Choose Freedom’: Documenting African American Presence in the Dominican Republic is a digital archives that recovers, preserves and makes available treasured records of the past. It contains a collection of rare and delicate archival documents pertaining to African Americans that arrived in 1824 from different ports along the Eastern United States to Samaná, Dominican Republic. The documents include books of baptisms, marriage certificates, as well as notes of church meetings, collective decisions and other random papers from Mother Bethel African Methodist Episcopal and St. Peter's Evangelical Churches in Samaná that document the lives of this Afro diasporic community ranging from 1909-1970.

For decades, it was believed that the majority of these materials had been permanently lost after a fire in 1946 that devastated the town of Samaná destroying all of the buildings in the community except for the former African Methodist Episcopal Church. Fortunately, many of the documents were found in a suitcase in the home of the pastor many years after.

Original Documents from St. Peter’s Evangelical Church. July 20, 2019.

The CUNY Dominican Studies Institute Library and ISER Caribe received a Seminar on the Acquisition of Latin American Library Materials (SALALM) Award for Institutional Collaborative Initiatives that provided initial funding for digitization of the documents that were in precarious conditions for the lack of care. After digitizing the documents, the originals were rehoused in archival boxes using archival sleeve covers and acid free file folders for preservation purposes. Additional financial support was provided by the CUNY Center for the Humanities.

After the digitization of the documents, the City College Digital Scholarship Services staff created a JSTOR Forum collection enhancing the metadata in order for the materials to be widely discoverable and accessible to scholars, researchers and community members. This collection provides families with a glimpse into the lives of their close ancestors to learn and understand the history and life of residents in Samaná. It is also part of a larger virtual repository that will allow these stories to be shared in observance and celebration of the upcoming 200-year anniversary in 2024 of the community’s migration to freedom.

A screenshot of JSTOR Forum digital project

This collaborative digitization project brought together the following team: CUNY Dominican Studies Institute: Chief Librarian and Professor Sarah Aponte, Librarian Jhensen Ortiz, Research Associate Sophia Monegro; ISER Caribe and LaGuardia Community College: Associate Professor of Anthropology Dr. Ryan Mann-Hamilton and CUNY Research Scholars Program Edyel Alarcon and Akiana Smith; City College Digital Scholarship Services: Associate Professor and Digital Scholarship Librarian Dr. Ching-Jung Chen, Digital Collections Librarian Hiroko Suda, and Digital Scholarship Manager Dr. Scott Koski.

By Prof. Sarah Aponte and Librarian Jhensen Ortiz

Dr. Wilfredo Alvarez donates latest publication to CUNY DSI Library

We would like to thank Wilfredo Alvarez, Associate Professor of Communication Arts at Utica University for donating his recent publication to the CUNY Dominican Studies Institute Library. Prof. Alvarez gladly signed and dedicated this copy to the CUNY Dominican Studies Institute and we are grateful for the support!

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Note from Prof. Wilfredo Alvarez

Alvarez, Wilfredo. Everyday Dirty Work: Invisibility, Communication, and Immigrant Labor. Durham, Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 2022.

Wilfredo Alvarez_part 1

According to the publisher, this book traces the forms of communication of Latin American immigrant janitors from their marginalized perspective within a predominantly White academic institution. Furthermore, the book analyzes how custodial workers perceive, interpret, and thematize periodic messages regarding race, ethnicity, social class, immigrant status, and occupation, and how those messages and overall communicative experiences affect their work and personal lives.

To read more about this publication please click here.

Everyday Dirty Work is an essential resource for scholars, students and readers who are interested in immigrant lived experiences as well as intercultural and organizational communications, migration workers, and social structures. 

Jhensen Ortiz, Librarian

Nuevo reportaje sobre las manifestaciones contra la Junta Central Electoral y elecciones municipales del 2020 en la República Dominicana.

Nuestro agradecimiento al periodista Julio Pérez por donar la segunda edición de su reportaje a nuestra biblioteca.

Periodista Julio Pérez en las instalaciones del Instituto de Estudios Dominicanos de CUNY (CUNY-DSI), 2 de agosto de 2022

Pérez, Julio. ¿Hasta dónde se extendieron las protestas? Santo Domingo: Revoltiao, 2022.

¿Hasta dónde se extendieron las protestas? es un reportaje sobre la movilización de la juventud dominicana en contra del arrebato a la democracia producto de la suspensión de las elecciones municipales dominicanas, en febrero de 2020, con una recopilación de las localidades en las que la manifestación fue replicada por los civiles y la diáspora.
Este reportaje resalta la organización y conexiones que se generaron a través de las redes sociales y de la gran participación de dominicanos en las protestas desde sus inicios al nivel local y internacional.

Este nuevo reportaje está disponible para descargar gratis para investigadores y el público interesado en leer sobre el tema. Favor pulsar aquí.

Jhensen Ortiz, Bibliotecario

Renowned Ethnomusicologist and Jazz Musician Dr. Paul Austerlitz generously donates to our library!

Professor and Chief Librarian Sarah Aponte, Dr. Paul Austerlitz, and Librarian Jhensen Ortiz receiving the donation on June 13, 2022.

The CUNY Dominican Studies Institute (CUNY DSI) Library is always happy to announce donations from patrons, professors, institutions, and colleagues who have supported our work over the years. To kick off the Fall semester, we are excited to share and thank our colleague Dr. Paul Austerlitz for donating part of his extensive collection of Dominican popular and folkloric music recordings of CDs, vinyl records, and audiocassettes to our library over the summer. Additionally, Dr. Austerlitz donated many rare and out-of-print books from his library that will help expand our collection in Dominican music literature and scholarship.

Moreover, in the last several weeks, we have begun sorting and organizing many items from this incredible donation. As a result, we’ve come across all sorts of unique materials in the collection, including a dedicated note and signature from legendary Dominican musician Félix del Rosario to Dr. Paul Austerlitz dated February 2, 1985:

Dr. Paul Austerlitz holding Félix Del Rosario’s first self-titled LP released in 1964.


Dedicated and signed by Félix Del Rosario to Dr. Paul Austerlitz.

This record will be a great addition to the library’s vinyl collection, as this is something we’ve been working on building over the last few years.

Dr. Paul Austerlitz Dominican Musicians Fieldwork Recordings, 1985-1996*

His donation also contains over 40 audiocassettes interviews conducted by Austerlitz while writing his dissertation/book: Merengue: Dominican Music and Dominican Identity. The collection is significant because among those interviewed are prominent musicians and artists, such as Joseíto Mateo, Tavito Vásquez, and Milly Quezada, and Dominican record executives, such as José Luis Santos, founder and owner of José Luis Records in the Dominican Republic. They recorded many popular recording artists like Fefita la Grande, Luis Segura, El Cieguito de Nagua, and Teodoro Reyes, to name a few.

A snapshot of the many audiocassette interviews with renowned Dominican artists donated to the library.

Lastly, Dr. Austerlitz served as a humanities advisor from 2017-2020 for the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) sponsored interactive website A History of Dominican Music in the United States and contributed significant work to the Institute as a visiting research scholar at CUNY DSI.

We are grateful to Dr. Austerlitz for such a sizable donation, as this will benefit researchers, scholars, students, and the public for years to come.

Jhensen Ortiz, Librarian