Colonial Phantoms

Colonial Phantoms

Belonging and Refusal in the Dominican Americas, from the 19th Century to the Present

Nation of Nations

by Dixa Ramírez

Published by: NYU Press

336 pages, 6.00 x 9.00 in, 21 black and white illustrations

  • Paperback
  • ISBN: 9781479867561
  • Published: April 2018


  • Hardcover
  • ISBN: 9781479850457
  • Published: April 2018



Winner, 2019 Isis Duarte Book Prize, given by the Haiti/Dominican Republic Section of the Latin American Studies Association

Winner, 2019 Barbara Christian Literary Award, given by the Caribbean Studies Association

Highlights the histories and cultural expressions of the Dominican people

Using a blend of historical and literary analysis, Colonial Phantoms reveals how Western discourses have ghosted—miscategorized or erased—the Dominican Republic since the nineteenth century despite its central place in the architecture of the Americas. Through a variety of Dominican cultural texts, from literature to public monuments to musical performance, it illuminates the Dominican quest for legibility and resistance.

Dixa Ramírez places the Dominican people and Dominican expressive culture and history at the forefront of an insightful investigation of colonial modernity across the Americas and the African diaspora. In the process, she untangles the forms of free black subjectivity that developed on the island. From the nineteenth century national Dominican poet Salomé Ureña to the diasporic writings of Julia Alvarez, Chiqui Vicioso, and Junot Díaz, Ramírez considers the roles that migration, knowledge production, and international divisions of labor have played in the changing cultural expression of Dominican identity. In doing so, Colonial Phantoms demonstrates how the centrality of gender, race, and class in the nationalisms and imperialisms of the West have profoundly impacted the lives of Dominicans. Ultimately, Ramírez considers how the Dominican people negotiate being left out of Western imaginaries and the new modes of resistance they have carefully crafted in response.