Negotiating the Divide: Practices in Transnational Dominican Performance
Hundley, James Douglas
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
Abstract This thesis is an examination of contemporary Dominican theatre and performance practices that have emerged as a result of the modern processes of globalization and transnationalism. It proposes and supports the existence of a burgeoning transnational Dominican performance paradigm in both New York City, home to the largest Dominican diaspora, and the homeland of the Dominican Republic. To do this effectively, the thesis has been divided into three parts, each containing three chapters. Part 1 serves largely as a review of published literature in the fields of study relevant to the topic. For example, Chapter 1 serves as an introduction to the essential characteristics of the processes of globalization and transnational migration and of the US Latino identity formations that historically have developed as a result of these processes. Chapter 2 broadly examines the varied practices that constitute the transnational performance genre while Chapter 3 specifically defines the socio-economic experience of US Latinos and the early formulations of US Latino transnational performance that developed as a result. In Part 2, the concepts of globalization and transnationalism are placed into a purely Dominican context. In Chapter 4 the socio-economic relationship between the United States and the Dominican Republic is examined while Chapter 5 addesses the cultural and racial identity issues Dominicans face in both the homeland and the New York diaspora as a result of the complex interconnections between these two locations. Chapter 6 then offers a history of the development of Dominican theatre in New York City while Chapter 7 provides an analysis of the lives and work of three Dominican theatre and performance artists living in the New York diaspora who are generating a transnational performance aesthetic as a result of negotiating the socio-cultural and economic divide that separates their residence in New York from their homeland, the Dominican Republic. Part 3 emphasizes the reciprocity of transnational performance. For example, Chapter 8 provides the argument that historically throughout the twentieth-century, theatre practices occurring in the Dominican Republic were consistently being influenced by North American theatre traditions. Chapter 9 offers an examination of the work of three specific Dominican theatre and performance artists who have been shaped by the process of “Americanization” and who, in their own unique way, are currently responding to this process in their work, providing credence to the theory that transational performance can be cultivated also in the homeland by those who have never actually migrated. The conclusion to the thesis is a reflection on the universalities of transnational Dominican performance so to use that which is taking place in New York City and the Dominican Republic as a tool for comparison in the broader study of the growing tradition of transnational performance.
PhD in Drama