Photo of Laura Rivas
Laura Rivas is a doctoral candidate in the Earth and Environmental Sciences program at the CUNY Graduate Center. Her work examines the impact of an insular culture of antislavery on the political territorialization of the Dominican state. Analyzing the tension between fugitivity and official rule, she considers historical practices of black flight into rural areas and the ideological legacies of colonialism to explain the fractured cartography and political instability of the early Dominican nation. Peasants’ autonomous lifestyle favored local forms of governance over a framework of national culture for the materialization of freedom and political rights. With the advent of the nation-state, revolutionary turmoil becomes a process through which peasants inserted themselves into a national project devised to either exclude or discipline them. Her research delves into the meaning and politics of sovereignty in this setting and at various scales, illuminating island intimacies that challenge the punitive politics of sovereignty at play in the Dominican Republic today.