Milagros Ricourt's most recent book is a much-needed intervention in the historiography of Dominican racial and national identity. For decades, scholars have documented Dominicans' antiblack nationalism and racial false consciousness. After the constitutional court's 2013 decision to revoke the citizenship of all children of Haitian migrants born after 1929, similar interpretations have been rehashed in the popular press. Yet Ricourt argues that these accounts uncritically reproduce and legitimate the official, but far from unchallenged, narrative of the Dominican elite. Combining ethnographic fieldwork and archival research, she deftly illustrates the evolution and survival of an alternate and subversive “national imaginary,” forged from the island's history of cimarronaje and grounded in cultural and racial hybridity.

Ricourt's opening chapters examine the roots of these conflicting national imaginaries. She begins with the familiar story of the foundation of the geographic and psychological border between the nations...

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