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Entangled Borders: Performance on the edge of nations in Haiti and the Dominican Republic

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Abstract

Within the last 20 years over 70 border walls have been built around the world in the name of sovereignty and global security. Not only are border walls being built but the sovereign power these walls assume are expanding beyond their coordinates. As technological innovations rapidly develop, borders are hindering the movement of people across borders. Despite these technological innovations people continue to create strategies and tactics that reimagine and negotiate the borders of nations. This particular work is an ethnography of the border between Haiti and the Dominican Republic. This dissertation is based on 16 months of ethnographic research in Anse-à-Pitres, Haiti and Pedernales, Dominican Republic. My overall argument is that performance acts as a vehicle by which people subvert, solidify, and reimagine the borders of their nations. I explore how performances such as national celebrations of identity and the religious Lenten festivals of Rara on the border provide an avenue by which people perform the nations ideological and political borders. In Haiti and the Dominican Republic, these performances demonstrate the deep historical ties between the two countries that illuminate sites of collaboration within structures of anti-Haitianism and xenophobia. These entangled performances highlight the space between mobility and immobility in which people are able and unable to move across the border yet still have the ability to shape and mold those borders.

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2019-05-30

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Cultural anthropology; African Diaspora; Borders; Haiti; Ethnic studies; Caribbean studies; Dominican Republic; Performance

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Committee Chair

Munasinghe, Viranjini P.

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LaBennett, Oneka
Bassi Arevalo, Ernesto E.

Degree Discipline

Anthropology

Degree Name

Ph.D., Anthropology

Degree Level

Doctor of Philosophy

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Government Document

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dissertation or thesis

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