One of several major accomplishments of my 6 months as a Fulbright Scholar during the spring of 2016 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, was the publication of the groundbreaking Cien años de feminisms dominicanos, 1865-1965. This 1,555 page, two volume collection of curated primary documents offer unequivocal evidence of the long and autochthonous history of feminist thought, activism, identity, and politics in the Dominican Republic. It was published by the Archivo General de la Nación (the National Archives), one of just a handful of their texts focused on women’s history, which itself was notable.
More than that, however, the book launch event held on June 17, 2020 garnered the largest audience turn out before and since, with over 300 members of the public – women and men, academics and students, public officials and community members, business and non-profit sector professionals, activists and artists alike – in attendance. This was likely due at least in part to the enormous media interest in the project, and the several radio, television and print interviews we did in the weeks leading up to the event.
Another factor may have been that the project was inspired by the beloved Dominican feminist activist researcher, Magaly Pineda, who during a 2011 conference organized by Fulbrighter April J. Mayes (Intercambiando Historias), challenged me and other US-based scholars of feminism in the DR to share our research with our Dominican peers and collaborators. April and I took up that challenge, and set to work over the next 5 years, eventually including our colleague and co-editor Elizabeth Manley in the project. The final push toward publication coincided with my spring 2016 Fulbright fellowship at the AGN, so I devoted almost all of my time to getting it done.
As it happened, that spring was also when Magaly finally succumbed to cancer; she passed away in April 2016, just weeks before the volumes went to press. Thankfully, I was able to show Magaly the final draft, to attend her wake, and to dedicate the second volume (Las siempre fervientes devotas, 1935-1965) to her. In the years since then, every copy of the first print run was sold, both in the DR and throughout the Americas, and it has been cited in new scholarship by feminist scholars in the Dominican Republic, Chile, Spain, the US, etc. Perhaps more importantly, we donated copies to university and foundation libraries throughout the country, and have seen the fruit of those seeds in both scholarly and media texts using Cien años as a primary resource to tell the story of feminism’s long and storied history in the Dominican Republic, some of whom participated in the feminist archival research methods class I taught at the Centro de Estudios de Género at INTEC. Today, as I work on the book I originally intended to finish during that Fulbright, Voices Echoing Across the Seas: Dominican feminisms, from Trans-Atlantic to Transnational, 1882-1942, I continue to be inspired by what was planted and sowed that spring.
Ginetta E.B. Candelario – Fulbright to Dominican Republic 2016