Noelia Maria Santana

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Michigan, Ann Arbor, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 10150

Approve Date

April 8, 2021

Project Title

Santana, Noelia, Michigan, U. of, Ann Arbor, MI - To aid research on "Hablar Bien: Language and Race in the Dominican Republic," supervised by Dr. Barbara Meek

Since independence from Haiti in 1844 and the rise of Dominican nationalism, ‘Dominicanness’ has been predicated on the exclusion of Blackness and inclusion of Indigeneity as adjunct to Whiteness. For marginalized individuals, recognition as authentic Dominicans of Haitian descent and as contemporary Ta’no (Indigenous) subjects point towards the significance of language to be both racializing and racialized. This project asks: how do Haitian Dominicans contest nationalist discourses of what it means to be Dominican and of their non-belonging in the country? And, how do Ta’no activists challenge these same discourses by interrogating historical narratives of extinction? To answer these questions, this project will employ a combination of linguistic and sociocultural anthropological methods over an 18-month period among Haitian Dominicans in the batey of Consuelito, urban Dominicans in Santo Domingo, and Ta’nos in Maguana Arriba. In doing so, this project will attend to how ways of speaking Spanish become semiotically and racially linked to forms of personhood, senses of belonging, and deservingness of citizenship. Understanding the ways that social actors challenge these racial boundaries that prevent them from existing socially, legally, racially, and culturally means teasing apart how ‘Haitianness,’ ‘Dominicanness,’ and ‘Ta’noness’ can be articulated in everyday linguistic performances within interaction.