Demonizing for the 'good cause': Dominicans, Haitans, and the global citizen

CEDLA Lecture by Samuel Martinez

22Sept2017 15:30


CEDLA Lecture by Samuel Martinez (University of Connecticut), with comments from Rivke Jaffe (Department of Geography, UvA)

A comparison of migrant/minority rights advocacy films from 2007 and 2015/16 shows that both the older and newer visual reports accord prominence to Dominicans’ expressions of hatred for Haitians and frame those hatreds as characteristically Dominican values and opinions. This visual/textual figuration of a “demonic Dominican,” consumed with hatred for Haiti, contrasts with the absence of any parallel identification of rights liberal voices as representatives of a countervailing, characteristically Dominican current of liberal thought. The newer films, however, make stronger use of testimonial storytelling and mark a shift in character selection and point of view. Importantly, the newer films for the first time assign the power of issue framing to Haitian and Haitian-descendant rights claimants rather than non-Haitian and non-Dominican rights defenders. One question is whether this combination, of demonizing moves with first-person testimonial, can shock the consciences of global citizens without alienating Dominican viewers.

Location: CEDLA (Roetersstraat 33, Amsterdam, second floor)

Published by  Amsterdam School for Regional, Transnational and European Studies