Book Launch - Legal Identity, Race and Belonging in the Dominican Republic: From Citizen to Foreigner

Author: Dr Eve Hayes de Kalaf, IMLR Visiting Fellow

Chair: David Howard, Associate Professor in Sustainable Urban Development, University of Oxford

Junot Díaz
, Dominican-American writer and creative writing professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Author of 'This is How you Lose Her' and 'The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao'

Raj Chetty, associate professor, English Department, St John's University. Author of Dominican Black Studies in The Black Scholar

Over the next ten years, states are carrying out large-scale registrations in alignment with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs aim to provide more than one billion people around the world with evidentiary proof of their legal and, increasingly, digital existence by 2030. This book identifies a connection between the role of international actors, such as the World Bank and the United Nations, in promulgating the universal provision of legal identity and links these with arbitrary measures to restrict access to citizenship paperwork from migrant-descended populations. The book provides the definitive analysis of the events leading up to the controversial 2013 Constitutional Tribunal ruling that rendered the Dominican plaintiff Juliana Deguis Pierre stateless. Hayes de Kalaf illustrates how measures that purposely blocked people of Haitian ancestry from accessing their legal identity not only affected undocumented and stateless populations – persons living at the fringes of citizenship – but also had a major impact on documented people; Dominicans already in possession of a state-issued birth certificate, national identity card and/or passport. The book illustrates the complex and contradictory ways in which ID systems are experienced, thus challenging the assumption within current development policy that the provision of ID to everyone, everywhere will lead to the inclusion of all citizens.

Eve Hayes de Kalaf has an extensive academic and professional background working in Latin America and the Caribbean. She obtained a distinction in a PGDip in Human Development with the United Nations in 2010 and a Master’s degree at the Institute for the Study of the Americas, University of London in 2011. She completed her PhD in Latin American Studies from the University of Aberdeen in 2018. Eve is currently Visiting Fellow at the Institute of Modern Languages Research (IMLR), former Stipendiary Fellow of the Centre for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (CLACS), University of London and honorary fellow at the Department of Modern Languages and Cultures, University of Liverpool. 

'Legal Identity, Race and Belonging in the Dominican Republic: From Citizen to Foreigner (Anthem Series in Citizenship and National Identities) is now available to order for libraries or as a more reasonably priced ebook.


Institute of Modern Languages Research
Event date: 
Wednesday, 1 December 2021 - 6:00pm