Latin American Visuals Online Repository at American University

A short time ago, researcher and American University graduate student Maribel Vásquez visited the CUNY Dominican Studies Archives and Library; she shared with us the recently launched Latin American Visuals Online Repository an exceptional resource featuring materials gathered by Latin Americanist scholars from multiple institutions for use by students and scholars alike. According to its web site, by combining these materials on one web site, individuals will be able to experience the rich culture, heritage, and natural beauty of Latin America and Antarctica. The online repository was made public in June of 2013 and it contains images of the Dominican Republic through the collection of images collected by Jack Child, alumnus and former faculty member at American University. The photographs reflect his two years in the Dominican Republic in 1975 and 1978 correspondingly. This online repository is still being updated with more photographs of Jack Child’s travels throughout Latin America and Antarctica and new content is continuously being added. A major motivation in setting up and populating this digital repository has been to have other institutions and Latin American scholars contribute to the Latin American Visual web site.

You can contribute here:

This video library and web site is recommended viewing to students, researchers, anthropologists, folklorists, photographers, artists as well as the general public. Some of the key themes areas are: The Caribbean region, Latin America, Antarctica, agricultural landscapes, urban scenery, social movements, and daily customs in different Latin American countries.

Jhensen Ortiz

Frank Taveras YouTube Channel an emphasis on Dominican life and folklore.

Frank Taveras YouTube Channel is the work of Frank Taveras who on his own time records and uploads videos to his YouTube channel on the music, folklore, and life of Dominicans.This is an important online resource because there are very few channels like this one dedicated to the historical and cultural legacy of Dominicans. Frank captures in his videos the experiences of blackness through musical traditions like Sarandunga, Palos, Gaga, Perico Ripiao, and many more. His passion for documenting all parts of the culture is necessary and essential to educate others on the significance of Dominicans most early and authentic forms of Dominican popular culture. The channel draws a variety of visitors and it is appreciated by the majority who come across his channel. The collection is comprised of more than 72 edited videos. This channel shares the same motivation to expand and build the preservation of the historical and cultural legacy of Afro Dominican traditions in the Caribbean as Videoteca Chango Prieto [Chango Prieto Video Library].This amazing online resource reflects on the collective legacy of African arts, customs and social life in the Dominican Republic and the Caribbean region. 

This channel is recommended viewing to students, researchers, anthropologists, folklorists, musicians, artists as well as the general public. Some of the things you will find are: interviews, Afro-Caribbean music, carnival celebrations, funerary rites, syncretic religion systems, Dominican dance traditions.

Jhensen Ortiz

Photographs capture the Japanese migrant’s presence in the Dominican Republic

Jomm1  Bolivia_07_03_09_Langman_COLONIA-SAN-JUAN19
Recently, Prof. Mika Miyoshi of the University of Tokyo shared with us an interesting database with photographs of Japanese migrant’s in countries like Brazil, Bolivia, Argentina, Paraguay, and the Dominican Republic.The database was created by Japanese Overseas Migration Museum in Yokohama, Japan. The museum displays the history of Japanese emigration and the current status of immigrants and Japanese descendants living abroad. The database is divided into five periods and shown using chronological tables, literatures, photographs, and movies.In the database the photographs are organized in the digital migration space.The photographs are from the late 1950s and probably a good portion was taken in the early years of Japanese arrival and settlement in the Dominican Republic.The initial Japanese migrants that came were settled in Constanza, a town in La Vega, Dominican Republic. Many of their descendants still live in that town, but the Japanese settlement never grew to a very large scale. This online resource also reflects on the agricultural contributions and hardships of Japanese migrants in countries where they help bolster the area’s economy.

Click here to see the database: 

Click here for the museum website:

This online database and web site is recommended to students, researchers, and historians as well as the general public. Some of the key research areas are: Japanese diaspora in Latin America, Race and identity in the Dominican Republic, migration to the Dominican Republic, cultural differentiation in the Caribbean, agricultural production, and Japan-Dominican Republic Relations.

Jhensen Ortiz

Library Intern

Caribbean Poetics: significant contribution to the study of Caribbean literature

Chief Librarian Sarah Aponte would like to thank Prof. Silvio Torres-Saillant for donating the second edition of his book Caribbean Poetics: Towards an Aesthetic of West Indian Literature to our library. As founding Director of the CUNY Dominican Studies Institute, Prof. Torres-Saillant was instrumental in the creation and development of the Dominican Library at City College.

Below please find a brief description of this new edition:


Saillant-Torres, Silvio. Caribbean Poetics: Towards an Aesthetic of West Indian Literature. 2nd ed. Leeds, England: Peepal Tree Press, 2013. Print.

This book is the outcome of Torres-Saillant's dissertation published almost fifteen years ago by Cambridge University Press (1997). Caribbean Poetics is published again for a new generation of Caribbean literary scholars and readers. The main premise of this text is that Caribbean literature has its autonomy in the world of literature within its given historical experience and cultural region. Torres-Saillant demonstrates this regional unification and lucid socio-aesthetic literature through the works of some of its key and most influential figures: Pedro Mir (1913-2000) from the Dominican Republic, Kamau Brathwaite (1930) from Barbados, and René Depestre (1926) from Haiti. Poets and scholars who sought to interpret best Caribbean society and its place in the world. Among some of the political events that influenced their work were the anti-colonialist struggles in Africa and the Caribbean as well as revolutionary politics and the Cold War. They shared some commonalities as well. For example, Pedro Mir and René Despestre were political exiled who both lived in Cuba for a while.The role of gender in Caribbean literature puts Torres-Saillant's inquisitive mind to work. Evidently, women are not exempted from their male counterparts, and he notes their contributions to the production of Caribbean literature providing an in-depth understanding of the distinctive themes and paradigms that women discuss in their texts. The literary works of Caribbean women communicate themes like the legacy of patriarchal structures and the social conditions of women associated with marginalization. Saillant argues how underrepresented Caribbean women writers were in the general context of world literature, and his work seeks to alter the marginalization of those artistic writers from the region.

This 2nd edition of Caribbean Poetics retains the political and theoretical drive of the original edition published in 1997. Saillant expressed that altering what he wrote would result in writing a completely different book and for it to be an accurate 2nd edition it could not undermine the vision and enthusiasm of the younger scholar who conceived and executed it. He does mention trends in Caribbean literature that emerged since 1997 in the afterword. He goes into facets of how the diaspora ascendancy in the Caribbean literary canon became a factor in the Caribbean experience and continued to shape the relationship of the Caribbean people. An intriguing fact about this edition is his revision of language; he removes the words "islands" and "archipelago" because the essential characteristics of languages, populations, and large chunks of the human experience of the region are excluded.

This book is highly recommended to students, researchers, professors, and anyone who is interested in a comprehensive and multicultural approach to the study of Caribbean poetry, aesthetics, colonialism, Caribbean societies. Readers are strongly encouraged to consult the bibliography it contains.

Jhensen Ortiz
Library Intern

Una de las nuestras dona su segunda colección de poesía Viandante en Nueva York a la biblioteca dominicana

La Profesora Sarah Aponte agradece a Osiris Mosquea por su donación y felicita su trabajo como poeta y activista en la ciudad de Nueva York. Actualmente Osiris está trabajando como asistente a la biblioteca dominicana.

Mosquea, Osiris. Viandante en Nueva York. New York, N.Y.: Artepoética Press, 2013. Print.

Este libro es un reflejo de la vida cotidiana y los matices culturales de la diáspora dominicana en la ciudad de Nueva York. Mosquea muestra con vívidos detalles los aspectos esenciales del trabajo, el hogar y la comunidad que ella ha llegado experimentar. Su voz te lleva en un viaje, no como un viajero, sino un residente a través de la ciudad de Nueva York desde una perspectiva profunda, personal y emblemática. Su imaginación es el vehículo que une a la multitud de sentimientos que se expresan acerca de la ciudad de Nueva York.

Este libro es un recurso para estudiantes, investigadores y la comunidad interesada en la poesía y la experiencia de la diáspora dominicana en la ciudad de Nueva York desde el punto de vista literario.

Jhensen Ortiz

Library Intern

Visita desde la Universidad de Puerto Rico del Profesor García Cuevas

La Profesora Sarah Aponte agradece al  Profesor Eugenio García Cuevas por donar varios de sus libros a nuestra biblioteca y por su grata visita. La donación constituye siete obras: La palabra sin territorio (hablar en la posguerra fría) (Alfaguara, 2004), Poesía moderna dominicana del siglo xx y los contextos internacionales (estudio sobre La Poesía Sorprendida) (Editora Nacional, 2011), Sujetos y predicados: el hijo de la mujer y diez cuentos más (Ediciones Ultimo Atrópodos, 2012), Descendientes del sonido (Isla Negra Editores, 2007), A quemarropa (nacionalismo, intelectuales, ética y academia) (Publicaciones Puertorriqueñas Editores, 2005), Lengua en tiempo saberes buenos, malos y feos (Isla Negra, 2006). Además del libro objeto de Pastor  de Moya La piarra (Ediciones Atrópodos, 2011).

Book Cuevas (2)
A continuación le hacemos una breve reseña a dos de sus publicaciones:

Poeseia moderna002

García Cuevas, Eugenio. La palabra sin territorio (hablar en la posguerra fría). Guaynabo, Puerto Rico: Alfaguara, 2004. Print.

Este volumen analiza los discursos y pensamientos del mundo de la Posguerra fría. El autor explica que desde  el año 1991, vivimos tiempos en que las líneas epistemológicas e ideológicas no están tan claras. El material que el autor nos presenta contiene  una amplia variedad de temas tal como la ética, la educación, las identidades, el feminismo, la globalización, el neoliberalismo, la posmodernidad y la historiografía. También contiene diálogos-entrevistas con varios escritores como Fernando Savater, Carlos Fuentes, José Saramgo, Octavio Ianni y Pedro Antonio Valdez, entre otros más.

Este libro es  un recurso para estudiantes, investigadores, y nuestros usuarios interesados  no solo en la crítica literaria si no en diversas problemáticas de nuestro tiempo.

Poeseia moderna001
García Cuevas, Eugenio.  Poesía moderna dominicana del siglo XX y los contextos internacionales (Estudio sobre La Poesía Sorprendida). Santo Domingo, República Dominicana: Ministerio de Cultura Editora Nacional, 2011. Print.

Poesía moderna dominicana del siglo XX trata sobre el origen y desarrollo de la estética y poética de La Poesía Sorprendida en el contexto local e internacional. La Poesía Sorprendida es un movimiento literario que abarca una colectiva de diez poetas dominicanos y la revista donde éstos publicaban sus textos entre octubre de 1943 hasta mayo de 1947. El autor argumenta que la obra de estos poetas como tanto la revista no han sido estudiados en profundidad por la crítica dominicana y de América Latina durante las últimas cinco décadas. Afirma que lo que se ha hecho, sobre todo hasta este punto, es  construir los cánones poéticos territoriales y extraterritoriales en sus conexiones con la tradición de la poesía occidental.

Con esta donación el Prof. García Cuevas mejora la capacidad de la biblioteca para servir mejor a los estudiantes, investigadores y la comunidad.

Jhensen Ortiz

Library Intern


Nuevo Libro Le Conflit haïtiano-dominicain dans la littéerature caribéenne/ El conflicto domínico-haitiano en la literatura caribeña

La Profesora Sarah Aponte agradece a la Dra. Elisa Loraine Lister por donar su nuevo libro a nuestra biblioteca.

Conflicto Dominico-Haitiano001  
Lister, Elissa L. Le conflit haïtiano-dominicain dans la littérature caribéenne/ El conflicto domínico-haitiano en la literatura caribeña. Rue Riguad Pétion-ville, Haïti: C3 Editions, 2013.

Este libro de la Dra. Lister reflexiona sobre el conflicto histórico entre dominicanos y haitianos dentro la literatura del Caribe. Esta versión bilingüe, es parte de una serie de libros bajo el sello C3 Editions que tratan sobre las relaciones entre haitianos y dominicanos. La función de esta publicación es realizar un análisis e interpretación de las diferentes representaciones que han desarrollado escritores de las Antillas en su producción narrativa. La autora utiliza el concepto de intertextualidad para explicar que en toda narración se entrecruzan o integran múltiples discursos. De esta manera articula como establecer un diálogo intertextual con otros textos sobre el conflicto domínico-haitiano.

Además la Dra. Lister utiliza varios textos para su análisis intertextual de escritores dominicanos como el relato testimonial El masacre se pasa a pie (1973) de Freddy Prestol Castillo. La novela Over (1939) de Ramon Marrero Aristy.  El cuento “Luis Pie” (1946) de Juan Bosch. De narradores haitianos la novela Mi compadre el general Sol (1955) de Jacques Stephen Alexis, Cosecha de huesos (1998) de Edwidge Danticat; así como los cuentos “Encancaranublado” y “El día de los hechos” (1982) de la narradora puertorriqueña Ana Lydia Vega. La novela Del rojo de su sombra (1992) de la escritora cubano-puertorriqueña Mayra Montero.   

Esta publicación se recomienda para estudiantes, investigadores interesados en como la literatura Caribeña interpreta el conflicto domínico-haitiano así como los diferentes representaciones en cuentos y novelas de los escritores caribeños.

Jhensen Ortiz

Library Intern

Nueva Perspectiva Histórica: Transformando la Propiedad

La Profesora Sarah Aponte agradece a Dra. Julie Cheryl Franks por personalmente donar su nuevo libro a nuestra biblioteca.



Franks, Julie Cheryl . Transformando la propiedad: la tenencia de tierras y los derechos políticos en la región azucarera dominicana, 1880-1930. Santo Domingo, República Dominicana: Academia Dominicana de la Historia. Volumen CIV, 2013.


Este libro es una investigación acerca de las transformaciones experimentadas por la sociedad dominica­na a partir del la revolución azucarera de finales del siglo XIX, y muy pronto derivó hacia el estudio de la transformación de sistema tra­dicional de tenencia de la tierra basado en los terrenos comuneros.  La obra que es una traducción de su tesis doctoral plantea un repaso de la evolución histórica del régimen de propiedad rural dominicana a través de los períodos colonial y en el siglo 19, con el argumento de que las relaciones sociales incorporadas en tenencia de la tierra comunal fueron la base para una popular subjetividad política, colectiva en el período de la independencia. Su trabajo de investigación con documentos de registros locales de la tierra, los registros notariales y registros de los tribunales locales refleja  la magnitud de actores locales en participación del progreso de los mercados de tierras en la región azucarera y la persistencia de prácticas populares para asegurar los derechos la tierra, incluso dentro de la expansión de  plantaciones modernas.


El libro es un recurso para los estudiantes, investigadores y público en general interesados en la evolución histórica de la agricultura en la República Dominicana, el proceso de formación del Estado en la República Dominicana, Industria azucarera y la sociedad dominicana.


Jhensen Ortiz


Library Intern

Greetings from Japan! Mika Miyoshi donates Dominika Kyouwakoku wo shirutameno 60 syou / the 60 chapters to understand the Dominican Republic

DSC01336Prof. Sarah Aponte would like to thank Dr. Mika Miyoshi, Researcher at the University of Tokyo for donating her recent publication on Dominican Republic which is part of a book series titled Nations in the World.

Dominika Kyouwakoku wo shirutameno 60 syou/the 60 chapters to understand the Dominican Republic. Tokyo, Japan: Akashi Syoten, 2013. Series editor: Iyo Kunimoto. 

This book, under the well-known series Nations in the World, covers the history, society, culture, politics and economics of the Dominican Republic for the first time in Japanese. The book contains material that will help students better understand the Dominican Republic and the Dominican diaspora. It also supplies information and interpretation on the Dominican community in New York City and an insight to the cultural locations and characteristics of the Dominican people.

Dominika Kyouwakoku wo shirutameno 60 syou / the 60 chapters to understand the Dominican Republic is an important resource for researchers, students and readers who are interested in finding general information about Dominican Republic and introduction to Dominican immigration to the United States.

Jhensen Ortiz

Library Research Intern

Silvano Lora: His legacy lives on

Silvano-Lora-artistaPhoto courtesy of Taller Público Silvano Lora

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the death of Silvano Lora (1931-2003) who left behind an immense and exquisite body of work that is still as relevant as ever before. Ten years later, the legacy of this non-conformist artist and social activist is being celebrated and re-assessed in the media, art venues as well as academic institutions by intellectuals, artists, friends and relatives marked by his unique, interdisciplinary artistic vision and towering personality.


Silvano Lora and Pachito stage a protest in opposition to the official celebrations of the 500th Centenary of the conquest of the Americas[Photo courtesy of Taller Público Silvano Lora]

In June, for example, the Autonomous University of Santo Domingo and the Association of Constitutionalist Combatants [of the 1965 revolution and civil war] held a ceremony to pay tribute to both Silvano Lora and Jacques Viau Renaud, the Dominican-Haitian poet and educator and one of the martyrs of the armed conflict. Another tribute and re-assessment of Silvano’s legacy was his first posthumous individual show (on display from July 25-September 10, 2013) at the Galería Nacional de Bellas Artes [Bellas Artes National Gallery] in Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic. The show won praise not only from art critics but the general public.

Crossing the Ozama River in remembrance of the 500 years of indigenous resistance in the Americas [Photo courtesy of Taller Público Silvano Lora]

 Sivano Lora: un arte combatiente [Sivano Lora: A Combatant Art] encapsulated the artist’s approach to art and life by showcasing a series of paintings, collages, assemblages and even texts penned by others who knew him. Among the items on display was a raft canoe built in collaboration with the craft artist Pachito. In 1992, on the eve of the official celebration of the 500th anniversary of the conquest of the Americas—known with the anachronism of “discovery”— both artists sailed the Ozama river to bring attention to the plight of indigenous people not only in Dominican Republic but also throughout Latin America. This retrospective was organized by the Taller Público Silvano Lora [Silvano Lora Public Workshop] in conjunction with the Bellas Artes National Gallery under the direction of art critic Marianne de Tolentino.

The 1992 protest staged by Silvano Lora overshadowed the official celebrations of the 500th Centenary of Columbus arrival [Photo courtesy of Taller Público Silvano Lora]

In Santiago, the second largest city, Centro León organized a panel on Silvano Lora which included among other panelists, his daughter, the historian Quisqueya Lora Hugi, Marianne de Tolentino, and the art critic and author Danilo de los Santos.

An aesthetic of rebellion

Trained in the school of Western classical painting, Silvano Lora eschewed academicism, idealism and tradition, embarking in what later became an ongoing artistic search for experimentation that lasted a lifetime. And while his art took cues from the latest trends within the international avant-garde, he was able to develop a true aesthetic of rebellion. In fact, his art was not only grounded in theory but in concrete reality. This was personified in the concrete reality of the barrios in the post-dictatorial era; overcrowded urban spaces that lacked both basic services and political freedoms. The Trujillo dictatorship (1930-1961) has left the country in shambles as many political exiles like Silvano Lora could attest. (He was exiled in Paris, France for a while. There he took part in the Algerian anti-colonial struggle).

RevolucionariosA scene from the 1965 revolution [From the book Historia gráfica de la Guerra de Abril (1981 edition) by Fidelio Despradel]

In the early 60s, Silvano Lora was instrumental in bridging the gap between art and politics in a time when students, intellectuals and ordinary people pushed forward for more democratic reforms and freedoms. Like his peers, Silvano took part in poetry recitals, self-publishing and collective art-making as well as exhibitions that brought art to the masses: First, as a member of the Arte y Liberación [Art and Liberation] group, and second, as one of the leading members of the short-lived but far-reaching cultural action committee known as Frente Cultural Constitucionalista [Constitutionalist Cultural Front].

[From the book Historia gráfica de la Guerra de Abril (1981 edition) by Fidelio Despradel]

During the 1965 popular uprising that opposed the 1963 coup, the Frente Cultural made posters, organized art exhibits and published a collection of poems entitled Pueblo, sangre y canto [literal translation: People, Blood and Song]in which poets expressed their unconditional support to the revolutionary cause. A statement signed collectively by Frente Cultural in support of the ideals and goals of the revolt first saw the light of the day in the first edition of that book. According to Juan José Ayuso, a poet, historian and former Frente Cultural member, “the book appeared in September of 1965”. In 1985, a second edition published by Autonomous University of Santo Domingo was released to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the revolution.

[Click here to read the English translation of the Frente Cultural 1965 statement and here to read the original version in Spanish]


Poster by the Frente Cultural circa 1965 [From the book Historia gráfica de la Guerra de Abril (1981 edition) by Fidelio Despradel]

PosteruasdA mural by Silvano Lora at UASD university

After the revolution, a twelve-year semi-dictatorial regime imposed terror in the streets. Combatants and unionist were murdered. Others like Silvano Lora were forced to go into exile. But he never became disengaged from his place of birth, denouncing the state terror facing Santo Domingo whenever he went. At the same time, Silvano continued to produce art in places like Panama where he gave talks to artists and young people and collaborated with plastic artists to create participatory art spaces such as murals.

Scene from the Bienal Marginal [Photo courtesy of Taller Público Silvano Lora]

Upon his return, Silvano continued his social art practice. Some of his long lasting contributions are a film festival, a rural museum in Baoruco province as well as the Bienal Marginal in Santa Bárbaraa working-class neighborhood located in the Colonial City of Santo Domingo which showcased work produced by ordinary people, among others.


La inmensa humanidad de Silvano (2003)  by Alberto Lara available for perusal at the DSI Library

The artist, writer, filmmaker, revolutionary combatant, activist and father remained committed to social change until the end. What was truly admirable was that at no point in his prolific career, his art was driven by the dehumanizing desire to accumulate lucre but instead, it was driven by a collective desire to change the status quo. Ten years later, his work remains vital.  Never a pessimist, Silvano Lora was— in the words of his friend Marianne de Tolentino — “an untamed artistic rebel who never believed in lost causes”.

Amaury Rodriguez/Guest contributor