This essay extends and contributes to existing scholarship by uncovering instances of cooperation and collaboration that suggest alternative views of Hispaniola and complicate contemporary political and social realities in the Dominican Republic. It focuses on Manuel Rueda’s 1998 Las metamorfosis de Makandal, in which François Makandal is imagined as a protean god. The author argues that Rueda’s Makandal is best understood as the embodiment of the vanguard poetic movement, Pluralismo. The Maroon becomes a central figure in the island’s story, as well as a figure of aesthetic possibilities and boundless exploration, like a pluralema. Rueda imagines a cosmic Makandal who is unhindered by racial or gender constructs, by space or time. Ultimately, he is a figure whose metamorphosis rewrites Hispaniola’s story and challenges rigid binaries that limit the way we view the Dominican Republic as a nation, Dominican national identity, Dominican-Haitian relations, and—more broadly—the island of Hispaniola.
“Macandal. Makandal. Mackandal.” Man and Protean Pluralema
Ines P. Rivera Prosdocimi is an assistant professor at the University of Hartford. Her scholarship and poetry focus on marronage, identity, and belonging. She is the author of Love Letter to an Afterlife (2018), which was a finalist for the 2019 International Latino Book Awards and the Binghamton University Milt Kessler Poetry Book Award. Her essay on the time-traveling, transnational Maroon is forthcoming in Caribbean Quarterly.
Ines P. Rivera Prosdocimi; “Macandal. Makandal. Mackandal.” Man and Protean Pluralema. Small Axe 1 November 2021; 25 (3 (66)): 24–44. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/07990537-9583390
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