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What has determined whether Antillean solidarity movements fail or succeed? In this comprehensive new study, Alaí Reyes-Santos argues that the crucial factor has been the extent to which Dominicans, Haitians, and Puerto Ricans imagine each other as kin.
Our Caribbean Kin considers three key moments in the region’s history: the nineteenth century, when the antillanismo movement sought to throw off the yoke of colonial occupation; the 1930s, at the height of the region’s struggles with US imperialism; and the past thirty years, as neoliberal economic and social policies have encroached upon the islands. Reyes-Santos draws from a vast archive of media, including everything from canonical novels to political tracts, historical newspapers to online forums, sociological texts to local jokes. Along the way, she uncovers the conflicts, secrets, and internal hierarchies that characterize kin relations among Antilleans, but she also discovers how they have used notions of kinship to create political solidarity across racial, gender, ethnic, sexual, and class differences.
“With breadth, depth, originality, and intellectual acumen, Reyes-Santos builds on her conceptualization of transcolonial and transnational kinship through a number of social and cultural examples to arrive at a more diversified approach in literary and cultural studies.”
—Myrna García-Calderón, Syracuse University
“Alaí Reyes-Santos’s elegant work unites vernacular and elite voices to discuss nationalist thought in the Spanish-speaking Caribbean. Her insights help us claim our intellectual traditions in contemporary struggles for justice.”
—April J. Mayes, author of The Mulatto Republic: Class, Race, and Dominican National Identity