Sunday, April 26, 2015

Groundbreaking book on Dominican history authored by prominent Dominican thinker published in English for the first time; Launch 5 PM May 29, Caribe Hilton, San Juan

Blacks, Mulattos, And The Dominican Nation
Franklin J. Franco
Routledge – 2015 – 122 pages

Originally published in 1969, Franklin J. Franco’s Blacks, Mulattos, and the Dominican Nation was the foundational study on the role of Afro-descendants in Dominican society.  Franco’s work was originally written in the midst of a socially committed thought erupting in the Dominican Republic after the breakdown of the conservative worldview sustained by the Trujillo regime and the second military intervention by U.S. forces in the country. Blacks, Mulattos and the Dominican Nation is in perfect harmony with the early efforts for the establishment of Black Studies in the United States’ academia.  Franco’s insurgent scholarly contribution and vindication of Dominican Blackness and Africanness, voiced from his homeland in Spanish, remained inaccessible to those English-speaking students, scholars and others interested in Black Studies as it unfolded beyond the U.S.

Now, more than 40 years later, Routledge puts in the hands of new generations the very first translation in English of a popular book that in 2011 had already been reprinted eleven times in the Dominican Republic without any alteration.  Blacks, Mulattos, and the Dominican Nation, translated by Dr. Patricia Mason, includes an introduction by Dr. Silvio Torres-Saillant that contextualizes Franco's work.

This exciting translation is part of Routledge’s new Classic Knowledge in Dominican Studies series, “a series that aspires to bridge on a permanent basis the shores of scholarship between the U.S. and the Dominican Republic, to ensure that transcendental writings that have marked Dominican thought become available to an English-speaking audience that otherwise may have no access to these important texts,” says Ramona Hernandez, the series’ editor and  Director of CUNY Dominican Studies Institute, the City College of New York.
The editorial board of Classic Knowledge in Dominican Studies series is constituted by distinguished scholars Alejandro Paulino, Archivo General de la Nación, Dixa S. Ramírez, Yale University, Mu-Kien Sang Beng, Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra, Rubén Sillié, Dominican Ambassador to the Republic of Haiti, Silvio Torres-Saillant, Syracuse University.

What scholars are saying about Blacks, Mulattos, and the Dominican Nation:
“Finally! U.S. scholars and students interested in a fuller, more complex understanding of blackness in the Americas will have English-language access to Franklin J. Franco’s seminal account.  Blacks, Mulattos and the Dominican Nation is indispensable reading for anyone interested in the relationship between slavery-based capitalism, competing colonial projects, and the development of racial systems and ideologies in the Americas.  As importantly, Blacks, Mulattos and the Dominican Nation reminds readers that anti-Haitianism and negrophobia provide as much evidence of unremitting black freedom struggles on the island, as of the pathologies of white supremacy in the Hispanic Caribbean.”  Ginetta E. B. Candelario, author of Blacks behind the Ears: Dominican Racial Identity.

“The reissue of Franklin Franco’s Blacks, Mulattos and the Dominican Nation demands a new look at the African base of the Dominican Republic, and the vexed question of race in that country.  It brings to light long held silences of racial oppression, and turns accepted notions of history on its head. At a time of deep misgiving between the Dominican Republic and Haiti, the book reveals a fascinating account of the impact of Toussaint Loverture’s presence in the Dominican Republic and his contribution to the development of a consciousness of the Dominican nation.  This is a must read for Caribbean scholars.” Linden F. Lewis is a Presidential Professor of Sociology at Bucknell University and past President of the Caribbean Studies Association.  His most recent work is as the editor of the anthology Caribbean Sovereignty, Development and Democracy in an Age of Globalization
"Franklin J. Franco’s analysis challenged the idea that Hispanic benevolence birthed racial harmony when he made enslaved people, violence, and plunder central to Hispaniola’s colonial history. Franco can now assume his well-earned place among English-language scholars who broke new ground in the study of slavery and the African Diaspora in the Americas." April J. Mayes, author of The Mulatto Republic: Class, Race and Dominican National Identity.

“Written in 1969, Franklin Franco’s book remains an important synthesis of Dominican history during the colonial and Haitian periods. It illuminates Santo Domingo’s place as an extraordinary part of the Afro-Caribbean world: its role as the first slave plantation society in the Americas (in the 1500s); its mostly enslaved, maroon, and African-descended population since that time; and its political integration with Haiti, which was embraced by many Dominicans as a more liberal and modern nation during the early 1800s.  A new introduction by Silvio Torres-Saillant situates this classic work beautifully and expansively in Dominican historiography.” Richard Turits, author of Foundation of Despotism: Peasants, the Trujillo Regime, and Modernity in Dominican History.
Please join Ramona Hernandez and Alejandro de La Fuente, Director of the Afro-Latin American Research Institute, Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University, for a special launching at the Latin American Studies Association annual meeting in San Juan.

The presentation will take place on Friday, May 29 from 5:00pm to 5:30pm, in the Exhibit Hall of the Caribe Hilton, San Juan, Puerto Rico. 

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