Haiti/Dominican Republic

A Section of the Latin American Studies Association

Haiti-DR Section Prizes Announcement


Isis Duarte Book Prize


Jeffrey S. Kahn, Islands of Sovereignty: Haitian Migration and the Borders of Empire (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2019).

Islands of Sovereignty by Jeffrey S. Kahn reveals how the U.S. government’s policing of migration from Haiti expanded the U.S. border, remade the Caribbean, and transformed the nation-state itself. Employing an impressive combination of ethnographic and historical research methods, Kahn locates the origin of the now widely-used practice of extraterritorial migration control in the U.S. interdiction of Haitian migrants and shows how the legal struggles around this policy tested competing tendencies at the very core of liberal constitutionalism. The result, Kahn reveals, was a new border, new geographies, and a spatially-reconfigured nation-state, the impact of which has been felt in Haiti, the Caribbean, the United States, and throughout the world. Kahn’s findings represent a major contribution to an interdisciplinary conversation at the intersection of anthropology, legal theory, geography, political philosophy, and history.

Honorable Mention:

Brandon R. Byrd, The Black Republic; African Americans and the Fate of Haiti (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2019).

The Isis Duarte book prize committee commends the work of Brandon R. Byrd in the 2019 publication The Black Republic. Beautifully written, the book serves as a reminder of the critical place of Haiti in so many of the important conversations circulating in the Black Atlantic across the 20th century. A narrative that unfolds clearly and yet with crucial nuance, this work of intellectual history serves as a key reminder of the deep roots of Black anti-imperialism and the many, even conflicted, ways Haiti has served as a symbol of freedom and liberation in the modern era.

Section Article Prize


Anne Eller, Raining Blood: Spiritual Power, Gendered Violence, and Anticolonial Lives in the Nineteenth-Century Dominican Borderlands (Hispanic American Historical Review)

The award winning article is an exciting demonstration of transnational perspective and scholarship on the island. It brings forward an astounding array of sources that reveal the center-island borderlands in the late 19th century to be a remarkable space of fugitive activity, and challenges the geographic and epistemological boundaries of the two nation states. Eller's focus on the spiritually grounded defense of autonomy, moreover, offers new ways of thinking about political authority in Latin American and the Caribbean that privileges the voices and perspectives of peasants and rebel leaders. We commend this article for both its breathtaking archival scope and analysis and theoretical innovation.

Honorable Mention

Maria Cecilia Ulrickson, honorable mention for Cultivators, Domestics, and Slaves: Slavery in Santo Domingo Under Louverture and Napolean, 1801-1803 (The Americas)

An honorable mention is awarded to Ulrickson's "Cultivators, Domestics and Slaves." Using notarial and ecclesiastical archives, Ulrickson charts how slaveholding and slave trading transformed under the influence of Louverture and Napoleon, and argues that slave owners created hidden slave markets and invented new ways of masking old forms of bondage. Thus, emancipation did not come suddenly to enslaved people on Hispaniola, but instead developed as a series of negotiations, contestations, and shifts that played out over time. In challenging how emancipation is conceptualized, this article will undoubtedly impact the scholarship on slavery and emancipation beyond Haitian and Dominican Studies.

Guy Alexandre Paper Prize (for a paper presented at the 2019 LASA conference in Boston)


Nancy Kang for “Ciguapismo: Rhina Espaillat’s Feminist Hermeneutics of Loss.”

The point of departure for Nancy Kang’s innovative paper is Espaillat’s characterization of her work of translation, not just between languages but also between home and diaspora, as “writing in reverse.” Kang interprets the poet’s statement in light of the image of la ciguapa, the mythic female figure whose backwards feet enable her to travel across borders of time and space. Especially when writing about Dominican women, Kang argues, Espaillat engages in an epistemology of ciguapismo, which Kang defines as“an interpretive faculty, an imaginative resource, and a humane impulse to excavate the mythic and world-building capacities of Dominican and Dominican diaspora women, aquí y allá.” Kang’s persuasive analysis is bolstered by her careful reading of the great poet’s oeuvre and interviews with the wise humanitarian, who is 88 years young now), and comparative scholarship on the metaphor of la ciguapa, not the least of which is found in the journal publication that won the section article prize two years ago by Ginetta Candelario.

Honorable Mention

Julie Sellers “From Radio Guarachita to El Tieto eShow: Bachata’s Imagined Communities.”

In this richly documented paper, Julie Sellers applies Benedict Anderson’s theory and scholarship on new, digital media to extend her unique scholarship on Dominican popular music, including her most recent (2017) book, The Modern Bachateros. Sellers elucidates the context and characteristics of the humble, melancholic bachata genre and the working class radio program that promoted it on the periphery of the centers of musical authority in the Dominican Republic. These slantwise assets were an ideal foundation for the successful reinvention of the radio program by means of creative appropriation of new media, into an online, diasporic show.


The Haiti-DR Section Article Prize

This prize will be presented for the best article on a Haitian or Dominican topic published in any peer-reviewed journal during 2018.

To qualify, authors must:

1. Be a paid member of both LASA and the Haiti/DR Section for the coming year’s conference (2019). Visit http://lasa.international.pitt.edu to (re)register for both by January 7, 2019.

2. Publish an original piece of scholarship in English, French, Kreyòl, Portuguese, or Spanish on a Haitian or Dominican topic in a peer-reviewed journal during 2018.

3. Submit the article electronically no later than January 7, 2019 to: emanley1@xula.edu.

The Guy Alexandre Paper Prize

This prize, for a paper presented on Haitian or Dominican studies at the annual LASA conference 2018, honors former Haitian Ambassador to the DR, scholar, and wonderful and brilliant diplomat who passed in 2014.

To qualify, authors must:

1. Be a paid member of both LASA and the Haiti/DR Section for the coming year’s conference (2019). Visit http://lasa.international.pitt.edu to (re)register for both by January 7, 2019.

2. Have made an original presentation in English, French, Kreyòl, Portuguese, or Spanish on a Haitian or Dominican topic at LASA 2018. If you presented but were not a member of the section you may join by January 7, 2019 and become eligible.

3. Submit the paper presentation to the committee no later than January 7, 2019. Papers may be edited from the original presentation form. We especially encourage emerging scholars and graduate students to submit their work. Please send the paper electronically to: emanley1@xula.edu

The Isis Duarte Prize

This prize, for a book published in 2018 on a Haitian or Dominican topic, honors Isis Duarte, a prominent sociologist, UASD professor, and pioneering scholar whose work on Dominican and Haitian migration, and Dominican women and household economies made significant contributions to Dominican Social Services.

To qualify, authors must:

1. Be a paid member of both LASA and the Haiti/DR Section for the coming year’s conference (2019). Visit http://lasa.international.pitt.edu to (re)register for both by January 7, 2019.

2. Publish an original academic-length monograph in English, French, Kreyòl, Portuguese, or Spanish on a Haitian or Dominican topic between January 1, 2018 and December 31, 2018. Translations of previously published works and edited volumes will be accepted if a strong case can be made (in the cover letter) for a broad and substantial on the field.

3. Submit an electronic copy and one physical copy of the monograph no later than January 7, 2019, accompanied by a cover letter (including a statement justifying the nomination for this prize) and CV (with complete contact information) to: emanley@xula.edu and 1 Drexel Drive Box 147 Department of History Xavier University of Louisiana, New Orleans, LA 70125.

*All award decisions will be announced in the Spring of 2019.  Award recipients will be celebrated at the Section Meeting/Reception at LASA 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts. Award committees will be convened in the fall of 2018. The section may cancel a given competition if it receives an insufficient number of entries.