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April 2013

Videoteca Chango Prieto: preserving Dominican oral tradition

Videoteca Chango Prieto [Chango Prieto Video Library] reflects on the continuity of African arts, customs and social life in the Dominican Republic and the Caribbean region as well as the new creole culture that emerged out of the uninterrupted interaction of slaves, freemen and laborers in the sugar plantations and other spheres of society molded by both pre-capitalist and modern-day capitalist modes of production.  But this online resource also reflects on the interactions between the islands--Haiti, St. Kitts, St. Thomas, Jamaica, Cuba, and Dominican Republic--and the transnational nature of anthropological studies in the Dominican Republic whose center of gravity shifted  from the study of the Taínos indigenous people to the living and breathing legacy of Afro-Dominican people. Following that line of thought, one of the major contributions of the Chango Prieto Video Library is the preservation of oral tradition, an endeavor that took off in the1970s with the birth of the Convite research and musical group.  Founded in 1994 by anthropologist and author Soraya Aracena, Video Chango Prieto is not only an innovative resource, but it is also the first of its kind. According to its web site, the collection is comprised of more than 350 unedited videos.

The audiovisual collection, compiled by Aracena over the years as part of her ethnographic fieldwork research into Afro-Dominican culture, showcases the work of a number of artists, cultural animators, filmmakers, musicians with little or no access to commercial media and financial resources. Shot in cinéma vérité, these digital videos cover the following subjects: musical genres and dances from a diverse ethnic heritage that includes Haitians, West Indians, Cubans and descendants of slaves in the Dominican Republic (wild Indians, gagá,  bomba, , jazz, salves); carnival celebrations, death rituals; harvest celebrations— a legacy of freemen community from the U.S that settled in what is today known as Samaná Province in the northeast; folk medicine, fashion, art, children’s games, body decoration and much more.  

This video library and web site is recommended viewing to students, researchers, anthropologists, folklorists, musicians, plastics artists as well as the general public.  Some of the key research areas are: The Caribbean region, Latin America, colonial history, linguistic differentiation in the Caribbean, afro-Caribbean music, carnival celebrations, funerary rites, syncretic religion systems, sugar production, and West Indian and Haitian laborers in the Dominican Republic.

Amaury Rodríguez/Guest contributor


Dr. Dennis R. Simó T. dona sus publicaciones a DSI

La profesora Sarah Aponte agradece al Dr. Dennis R.Simó Torres la donación a nuestra biblioteca de estas dos publicaciones—reseñadas más abajo— a través de la Dra. Ramona Hernández. Sin duda alguna, esta gentil donación enriquece en gran medida nuestros anaqueles.

Una Experiencia de Gestión Universitaria

Simó Torres, Dennis R. Una experiencia de gestión universitaria orientada a la innovación.Santo Domingo, República Dominicana: Editora Búho, 2012.

Este libro del Dr.Simó Torres, rector de la universidad APEC en la República Dominicanadel 2001 al 2007, hace un recuento de la experiencia profesional del autor al frente del reputado alto centro de estudios. 

Pasado, presente y futuro se entrelazan en torno al papel de la enseñanza en la República Dominicana.  En resumidas cuentas, el autor presenta su propia visión en miras a implementar políticas que estén acordes con los cambios sociales y económicos de la sociedad.

Desde El podium048

Desde el pódium.Santo Domingo, República Dominicana: Editora Búho, 2012.

El contenido de este libro gira hacia lo variopinto: desde discursos académicos, panegíricos, charlas,  discursos de graduación, conferencia y memorias de una gestión enriquecedora en frente de la Universidad APEC y el mundo académico en la República Dominicana. A través de estos textos, se presenta al lector aspectos claves en torno a la vida social, cultural y económica del país desde un ángulo particular. 

Estas dos publicaciones son consulta obligada para investigadores y el público en general interesado en la presente situación del sistema educativo dominicano así como la trayectoria de las universidades privadas en la República Dominicana y el área del Caribe hispano. 

Amaury Rodríguez / Colaborador invitado

Raquel Cepeda's new memoir, Bird of Paradise: How I Became Latina

Prof. Sarah Aponte would like to acknowledge the donation and recent publication of Raquel Cepeda to the CUNY Dominican Studies Institute Library.

Bird of Paradise

Cepeda, Raquel. Bird of Paradise: How I Became Latina. New York, NY: Atria Books, 2013. Print.

A marriage between her personal memoirs and description of the research into her ancestral DNA, in Birds of Paradise Cepeda addresses uncovering her roots by discovering her family history, her Dominican neighborhood in Upper Manhattan, and ultimately her ancestral DNA.

She formulates with emphasis what it meant for her to grow up in New York City and the journey she embarked to find her identity and history.Cepeda celebrates vividly her ethnic makeup and with raving honesty; she dissects concepts of race, identity, and ancestral DNA among Latinos by using her own Dominican-American story as a specific example.

This publication is essential reading for students and researchers working on Dominican identity, Dominican- Americans, Culture heritage, Dominican History, DNA-Ancestral Research and Dominican migration.

Library Intern

Jhensen Ortiz