Richard Lee Turits’ fine new monograph, In this extensively researched and cogently written work, Turits argues that the notoriously brutal Trujillo regime created lasting links with peasant communities in the rural hinterlands, which helped to solidify his thirty-year rule.Drawing on recent approaches to state-formation in Latin America that emphasize both political culture and contingency, Turits makes a compelling argument against the prevalent portrayals of the Trujillo regime as totalizing and “sultanistic.” Rather, Turits sees the Domincan state as improvisational, often internally incoherent, and legitimized largely through its symbolic and material investment in peasant land holding and independent farming.
While compelling in this light, these combined material and cultural factors seem less suitable to explain the role of the 1937 “Parsley Massacre”, in which the Trujillo regime turned suddenly and violently against Haitian immigrants on the frontier.
In a work as carefully structured and logically argued as , the section on the massacre seems to find Turits in a stretch to make the reckless incoherence of the massacre fit into a coherent framework.
(2007) is a complex text, at the core of which is an historical narrative about the Trujillo regime and its after-effects.
By expanding on the previous scholarly discussion, this essay provides a comprehensive look at the roles of the fantastic in this novel, arguing that it serves as a tool for (re)presenting the incomprehensible violence of the dictatorship and mediating the cultural complexities that arose from the Dominican diaspora in the United States. The first describes how multiple intertextual references to comic books, fantasy literature and science fiction create a framework that facilitates the reader’s comprehension of the cultural disparities in the novel.
It should be noted, too, that Truijllo’s peasant-centered modernity required negotiations with both peasants and private landowners—foreign and domestic. A young Raphael Trujillo (Image courtest of Wikimedia Commons) Nevertheless, Turits’ shows that the Trujillo state created lasting, though ambivalent, bonds with rural people that served to preserve an especially undemocratic regime for three decades.
Turits’ explorations of these negotiations reveal a regime that pursued an ad-hoc, equivocating policy of support of the peasantry and often failed the latter when it was up against powerful U. In many ways, this paradoxical support for a widely reviled and unquestionably ruthless dictator, which has lingered into contemporary memories of the trujillato, provided the impetus for the work in the first place.For decades scholars of nineteenth- and twentieth-century Latin America had paid close attention to individual states and their relationship to national peasantries.This abiding interest stemmed from long-term academic investment in agrarian conflict and popular revolution in places like Mexico, Cuba, and Nicaragua.Indeed, Turits utilizes oral histories of elderly peasants in order to build a more nuanced cultural component to his otherwise materially oriented explanation.Here, he argues that Trujillo’s policies resonated with peasant traditions of “respeto,” or patriarchal order, and independence.If social science and history could convincingly describe the social forces that produced revolutions in those places, however, they lacked broader explanatory power, since much of Latin America had toiled under similar conditions of state oppression and capitalist exploitation without exploding into peasant revolution.The years between the 1970s and the 1990s witnessed a gradual shift to comparative studies of the people who rebelled and those who did not.The same criticism may apply, as well, to the book’s final chapter, which attempts to explain the rapid and seemingly self-defeating fragmentation of the regime in terms of the broader argument about state formation and paternalist populism.That is, it seems that the “insanity” of the Trujillo state’s twilight years continues to defy systematic explanation. Our certified Educators are real professors, teachers, and scholars who use their academic expertise to tackle your toughest questions.Educators go through a rigorous application process, and every answer they submit is reviewed by our in-house editorial team.