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Masculinity after Trujillo

The Politics of Gender in Dominican Literature

Maja Horn

Publication Year: 2014

Any observer of Dominican political and literary discourse will quickly notice how certain notions of hyper-masculinity permeate the culture. Many critics will attribute this to an outgrowth of "traditional" Latin American patriarchal culture. Masculinity after Trujillo demonstrates why they are mistaken.

In this extraordinary work, Maja Horn argues that this common Dominican attitude became ingrained during the dictatorship (1930-61) of Rafael Leonidas Trujillo, as well as through the U.S. military occupation that preceded it. Where previous studies have focused mainly on Spanish colonialism and the controversial sharing of the island with Haiti, Horn emphasizes the underexamined and lasting influence of U.S. imperialism and how it prepared the terrain for Trujillo’s hyperbolic language of masculinity. She also demonstrates how later attempts to emasculate the image of Trujillo often reproduced the same masculinist ideology popularized by his government.

By using the lens of gender politics, Horn enables readers to reconsider the ongoing legacy of the Trujillato, including the relatively weak social movements formed around racial and ethnic identities, sexuality, and even labor. She offers exciting new interpretations of such writers as Hilma Contreras, Rita Indiana Hernández, and Junot Díaz, revealing the ways they successfully challenge dominant political and canonical literary discourses.

Published by: University Press of Florida

Title Page, Copyright Page

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Contents

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pp. ix-

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xi-xvi

This book is the result of my scholarly and personal engagement with Dominican culture and arts for the past ten years, which began with a serendipitous encounter with the Dominican writer, artist, and musician Rita Indiana Hernández. She insisted that I listen and learn about the Dominican Republic...

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Introduction: The Politics of Gender in the Caribbean

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pp. 1-22

The Dominican presidential campaign leading up to the 2012 elections littered the national landscape with political slogans. Among these was the presidential candidate Hipólito Mejía’s ubiquitous “Llegó Papá” (Daddy’s here). This slogan largely overrode more usual political promises, evincing the power of the discourse...

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1. De-tropicalizing the Trujillo Dictatorship and Dominican Masculinity

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pp. 23-49

The century before Rafael L. Trujillo came to power tends to be described as a long period of political instability marked by constant battles between regional caudillos for power, the threat of Haitian invasions, and the voluntary ceding of the country’s sovereignty to become a colony of Spain again, from 1861 to 1865. What historical...

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2. One Phallus for Another: Post-dictatorship Political and Literary Canons

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pp. 50-79

The death of the dictator, who was assassinated in 1961, also ended his type of exalted public performance of hypervirile masculinity by Dominican political leaders. This did not, however, spell the end of the political significance of discourses of masculinity in the Dominican Republic. Notions of masculinity continued to be integral...

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3. Engendering Resistance: Hilma Contreras’s Counternarratives

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pp. 80-101

In the 1980s new impulses emerged in Dominican literary culture at the same time as long-awaited changes were taking place in the political sphere. As Dominican political “canons” were being dismantled, a new body of literary works was also challenging many of the canonical tendencies traced in the previous...

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4. Still Loving Papi: Globalized Dominican Subjectivities in the Novels of Rita Indiana Hernández

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pp. 102-122

In 1996 a new president took office in the Dominican Republic and seemed to promise a significant break with the previous government (1986–1996) of the now very old, feeble, and almost blind Balaguer. In contrast, Leonel Fernández was relatively young, educated, New York–raised, and thus also part of the Dominican...

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5. How Not to Read Junot Díaz: Diasporic Dominican Masculinity and Its Returns

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pp. 123-138

The difficult economic circumstances that constrain many Dominicans’ lives on the island continuously drive large numbers toward emigration. Once abroad, they become essential sources of support for their families and kin back at home. Indeed, nowadays the Dominican Republic receives one of the highest amounts...

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Conclusion

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pp. 139-143

I argue throughout this book how discourses of gender and sexuality, rather than being merely “personal” expressions, have important broader political ramifications and effects in the Dominican Republic. Specifically I show how they continue to structure officialist Dominican political culture and society in ways that were lastingly...

Notes

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pp. 145-181

Bibliography

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pp. 183-192

Index

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pp. 193-202


E-ISBN-13: 9780813048994
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813049304

Page Count: 142
Publication Year: 2014

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Subject Headings

  • Gender identity -- Dominican Republic.
  • Masculinity in literature.
  • Masculinity -- Dominican Republic.
  • Dominican literature -- History and criticism.
  • Men -- Dominican Republic -- Psychology.
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