Keynote Speaker

Hostos Community College of The City University of New York (CUNY) became home to “DSA 2018,” Biennial Dominican Studies Association Conference under the general title "Dominicans on the Map: Heritage, Citizenship, Memory & Social Justice." From the 15 through the 17 of November, nearly 150 presenters in fields of the humanities, social science, education, law, and other disciplines, in addition to the arts, community work, and cultural activism gathered at Hostos. Panelists, plenary speakers, and presenters affiliated with over 100 institutions of higher education and cultural centers from Europe, the United States, Canada, and the Dominican Republic covered topics related to historical memory, identity, citizenship, the presence of Dominicans in U.S. legislatures, the growing leadership of Dominicans in higher education administration, racial issues, and civil rights, among others.

Ana I. García-Reyes, Associate Dean at Hostos, and Silvio Torres-Saillant, Professor of English at Syracuse University, convened the Conference in their capacity as co-Chairs of the Dominican Studies Association.

Dominican-descended Dr. María Harper-Marinick delivered the DSA 2018 Keynote Address, a timely choice given the journey that culminated in her taking on the position of Chancellor of one of the largest community college systems in the nation, namely Arizona State’s Maricopa County Community College District. Dr. Harper Marinick was introduced by Dr. Narcisa Polonio, the first Dominican American woman who became president of a higher learning institution / university in the U.S. Welcoming remarks were given by Dr. David Gómez, President of Hostos Community College.

The opening reception took place Thursday, November 15, at Hostos Community College, beginning with greetings from high ranking administrators of Hostos: Senior Vice President Esther Rodríguez-Chardavyone, Deputy to the President Dolly Martínez and Associate Dean Ana García Reyes.

In addition, a reflection by Dr. Daisy Cocco de Filippis, President of Naugatuck Valley Community College in Waterbury, Connecticut, and a pre-recorded message by the acclaimed American poet of Dominican ancestry Rhina P. Espaillat, the dedicatee of the DSA 2018 Conference. The remainder of the opening reception featured Hostos students reciting some of Espaillat’s poems, literary readings by poet Inés R. Rivera Prosdocimi (University of Hartford) and novelist Hayden Carrón Namún (High Point University), and to close, a brief selection of dance represented by the diversity of musical genres and forms in the heritage of Dominican popular music.

The DSA 2018 Conference reflects the growth of Dominican Studies, among other things, with the participation of panelists from across the range of age brackets who, without any ancestral ties to the Dominican Republic, have ventured into that field of study. In addition to coming from higher education campuses and cultural institutions from throughout the United States, speakers also came from abroad. They traveled from such cities as Leiden in Holland, Cambridge and Essex in England, Edinburgh in Scotland,  and Winnipeg and Toronto in Canada, apart from the cohorts of scholars coming as panelists from Santo Domingo, affiliated with the Salomé Ureña Teacher Training Higher Education Institute and with the Pedro Francisco Bonó Higher Education Institute, the latter led by the fine scholar and Jesuit priest Father Pablo Mella.

Some of the conference program highlights consisted of distinguished luminaries public figures who enjoy renown in the fields of creative writing, scholarship, and public service in the Dominican Republic. The celebrated author José Alcántara Almánzar, winner in 2009 of the National Literature Prize, the highest distinction received by writers in the Dominican Republic, joined colleagues affiliated primarily with U.S. universities in a panel on twentieth and twenty-first century Dominican letters from here and there. From Santo Domingo also came the social scientist Bernardo Vega and the human rights expert Roberto Alvarez, both boasting diplomatic credentials, having served their country as ambassadors, before the White House and the OAS, respectively. Both participated in the Plenary session along with Lisa Paravisini-Gebert, the Chair of the Hispanic Studies Department at Vassar College. Moderated by historian Lissette Acosta Corniel, a faculty member at the Borough of Manhattan Community College and Program Co-coordinator for DSA 2018, this session included an official moment. The Plenary opened with the words of Mayra Linares García, member of the Board of Trustees of The City University of New York, who came to greet the DSA 2018 Conference on behalf of the highest governing body of the largest urban public university system in the U.S.

Born nearly two decades ago, the Dominican Studies Association (DSA) has organized this iteration of its biennial congress (DSA 2018) with an eye on passing on to the hands of a new generation of dominicanistas both the organization and the zeal for the field that it came into being to promote. We hope that a new generation of dominicanistas will bring to the initiative new and more creative ways of continuing to insist that the Dominican experience meets all the criteria to fuel meditation about the human condition writ large, as have the Greek, Chinese, Sudanese or Israeli. We also harbor the hope that as the new scholarly leadership improves on the research questions and the methodologies of its predecessors, it will remain committed to our founding ideal of using the study of the Dominican experience as a forum from which to foster the cause of all humanity.

Please enjoy these photos of the DSA Conference.

Full program available at

English and Spanish lanuage media coverage:
Bronx Net

El Nacional

El Nuevo Diario 

Primera PlanaNY


Diario Dominicano

Dominicanos HOY

El Sol de Santiago

El informador Dominicano

Las Primeras

Noticias San Cristóbal

Al AcechoRD