This book is the result of a long, deeply personal and incredibly rewarding
journey. Like many first books, it began long ago as part of my doctoral
training, and it has grown with me. I am thankful to see it mature and go
out into the world, after many years of dedication and work. But of course,
getting to this point required the support of many, including some of the
people whose lives and work inform the chapters. My eternal gratitude and
appreciation go first to Josefina Báez, whose performance work and writing
kindled my curiosity way back when I was a college student at Rutgers Uni-
versity. My interest in her work was the seed that eventually grew into this
book. Her friendship has been the most amazing reward. Gracias, mi her-
mana por tanta luz. The inventiveness of Rita Indiana Hernández; the ac-
ciones of David “Karmadavis” Pérez; and the literary gifts of Junot Díaz, Rey
Andújar, Nelly Rosario, Loida Maritza Pérez, and Aurora Arias provided
a road map for translating dominicanidad beyond the island and across a
vast temporal span. The intellectual legacy of Juan Bosch served as a bridge
between the often slippery here and there my book connects. It is my most
sincere hope that the archive I created in this book honors their lives and
the lives of Olivorio Mateo, Dominga Alcántara, the Andújar family, Sonia
Marmolejos, and the many other actors who inform the stories and histories
my book memorializes.
This project began while I was a doctoral student in the American Cul-
ture Program at the University of Michigan. Lawrence La Fountain- Stokes
was incredibly supportive. Yolanda Martínez- San Miguel was an instrumen-
tal mentor and advisor. Jesse Hoffnung- Garskof and Richard Turits provided
guidance as I began to explore the tensions between history and literature.
The mentorship of Jossianna Arroyo, Mary Kelley, Carol Smith Rosenberg,
and Julie Ellison and the tireless diligence of Marlene Moore made Michigan
a nurturing place for me to grow intellectually and humanly. My friends Afia
Ofori- Mensa, Brian Chung, Chris Finley, Danny Méndez, Dean Saranillo,
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