Mulatto Republic

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The Dominican Republic was once celebrated as a mulatto racial paradise. Now the island nation is idealized as a white, Hispanic nation, having abandoned its many Haitian and black influences. The possible causes of this shift in ideologies between popular expressions of Dominican identity and official nationalism has long been debated by historians, political scientists, and journalists. In The Mulatto Republic , April Mayes looks at the many ways Dominicans define themselves through race, skin color, and culture. She explores significant historical factors and events that have led the nation, for much of the twentieth century, to favor privileged European ancestry and Hispanic cultural norms such as the Spanish language and Catholicism. Mayes seeks to discern whether contemporary Dominican identity is a product of the Trujillo regime--and, therefore, only a legacy of authoritarian rule--or is representative of a nationalism unique to an island divided into two countries long engaged with each other in ways that are sometimes cooperative and at other times conflicted. Her answers enrich and enliven an ongoing debate.