Latinx Studies in global perspectives, Hispanic Caribbean literatures and cultures, performance studies, race and ethnicity, transnational feminism, migration, human rights, Dominican and Dominican diaspora studies.
Academic Degrees: B.A., Journalism, Spanish Language and Literature (Highest Honors), Rutgers University, New Brunswick; M.A. Latin American Literature and Cultures, Rutgers University, New Brunswick; PhD American Studies, specialization in Latino/a Studies, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Prof. García Peña is the author of The Borders of Dominicanidad: Race, Nations and Archives of Contradictions (Duke University Press, 2016) a study of the impact of stories — historical and fictional — on the national and racial identity of a people. Offering the Dominican experience as case study, this book shows how the stories of a nation create marginality through acts of exclusion. These exclusionary acts are linked to the tensions between colonial desire and the aspiration for political independence. The book also shows how these official stories of exclusion, though influential in shaping a country’s identity, are always contested, negotiated, and even redefined through acts of resistance linked to the tensions between history — what is perceived as evidence of fact — and fiction — what is presumed to be invention: cultural productions, oral histories, and rumors. The Borders of Dominicanidad is the winner of Winner of the 2017 National Women’s Studies Association Gloria E. Anzaldúa Book Prize, the 2016 LASA Latino/a Studies Book Award and the 2016 Isis Duarte Book Prize in Haiti and Dominican Studies.
Ongoing book-length project. Translating Blackness: Migrations and Detours of Latinx Colonialities in Global Perspectives engages various geopolitical spaces: Latin America, the United States and Europe, providing a new cartography for understanding contemporary Latinidad as resulting from the vaivén of peoples and ideas across geographical and imaginary spaces. Specifically, my research analyzes how black Latin American migrants and their descendants grapple with various racial systems finding ways to translate racial meaning across national contexts while carving a space of belonging and representation within the nation(s) that often exclude them. The book historicizes Afrolatinidad as a productive category of contestation but one that is also restricted by colonial regimes that continue to operate in the nation.
"Black in English: Race, Migration, and National Belonging in Postcolonial Italy." Kalfou 3, no. 2 (2016).
"Translating Blackness: Dominicans Negotiating Race and Belonging." The Black Scholar 45, no. 2 (2015): 10-20 (Awarded Best Article in Black Scholar, 2015).
"Un-Bordering Hispaniola: David Pérez's Performance Actions of Haitian-Dominican Solidarity." Afro-Hispanic Review 32, no. 2 (2013): 57-71.
"Being Black Ain't So Bad... Dominican Immigrant Women Negotiating Race in Contemporary Italy." Caribbean Studies 41, no. 2 (2013): 137-161.
“La Mucama de Omicunlé: Una Reseña.” Rita Indiana. Archivos. Ed. Fernanda Bustamante. Cielo Naranja: Santo Domingo and Berlin, 2017.
“Almost Citizens: Transnational Belonging in the Age of Immigration.” Translations: The Future of the Humanities. Duke University Press, Summer 2017. https://humanitiesfutures.org/papers/almost-citizens-racial-translations-national-belonging-global-immigration-crisis/
“Junot Díaz.” In Dictionary of Caribbean and Afro-Latin American Biography, edited by Franklin W. Knight and Henry Louis Gates, Jr. London: Oxford University Press, 2016.