LAII Alum Publishes Book on Undocumented Dominican Migration

April 29, 2013

In April, 2013, University of Texas Press published Undocumented Dominican Migration by Dr. Frank Graziano. According to the press, the book offers "the first comprehensive study of boat migration from the Dominican Republic to Puerto Rico. It brings together the interactive global, cultural, and personal factors that induce thousands of Dominicans to journey across the Mona Passage in attempts to escape chronic poverty. The book provides in-depth treatment of decision-making, experiences at sea, migrant smuggling operations, and U.S. border enforcement. It also explores several topics that are rare in migration studies. These include the psychology of migrant motivation, religious beliefs, corruption and impunity, procreation and parenting, compulsive recidivism after failed attempts, social values in relation to law, marriage fraud, and the use of false documents for air travel from Puerto Rico to the mainland United States."

"Frank Graziano's extensive fieldwork among migrants, smugglers, and federal agencies provides an authority and immediacy that brings the reader close to the migrants' experiences. The exhaustive research and multidisciplinary approach, highly readable narrative, and focus on lesser-known emigrants make Undocumented Dominican Migration an essential addition to public and academic debates about migration" (University of Texas Press).

Marcelo M. Suárez-Orozco, founder of the Harvard Immigration Project and of Immigration Studies at New York University, wrote that "Undocumented Dominican Migration is an unflinching, fully nuanced, and humane study of the dark side of today's broken immigration system. It is a must read for every scholar, policy-maker, and indeed every engaged citizen concerned with fixing our anachronistic, dystopic, and, yes, barbarian immigration system. I am ordering a second copy of the book to send to President Barack Obama today."

Since the beginning of his career in 1990, Frank Graziano has written on an extraordinarily wide range of topics in Latin American culture. His early work was on poetry, resulting among many other publications in the edited volume Semblanza de Alejandra Pizarnik (Fondo de Cultura Económica, 1992). Later studies resulted in Divine Violence: Spectacle, Psychosexuality, & Radical Christianity in the Argentine "Dirty War" (Westview Press 1992); and in a book, The Lust of Seeing, on the Uruguayan fiction writer Felisberto Hernández (Bucknell University Press, 1997).

Graziano's more recent books have focused on religious cultures. The first of these, The Millennial New World (Oxford University Press, 1999), surveys apocalyptic, messianic, millennial, and utopian thought and action throughout the course of Latin American history. The book that followed, Wounds of Love: The Mystical Marriage of St. Rose of Lima (Oxford University Press, 2004), received wide critical acclaim for its rigorous and innovative scholarship. Cultures of Devotion: Folk Saints of Spanish America (Oxford University Press, 2006) was likewise highly praised in a range of media and has been adopted for course use in various disciplines. The book has a companion website, "Cultures of Devotion". Graziano is currently working on Miraculous Images & Votive Offerings in Mexico, which will be published by Oxford University Press. Undocumented Dominican Migration (University of Texas Press, 2013) is Graziano's most recent publication.

Graziano is the recipient of many prestigious awards in support of his research and writing. He has received grants and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Council of Learned Societies, the John Carter Brown Library, the Fulbright and Fulbright-Hays Programs, and the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center, among many others.

He has been an invited speaker at many institutions in the United States and abroad, including Boston, Brown, Duke, Emory, New York, Princeton, and Yale Universities, the Americas Society, University of London, Instituto Nacional de Antropología y Pensamiento Latinoamericano (Buenos Aires), Universidad de Buenos Aires, Centro Bartolomé de Las Casas (Cuzco), and Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú (Lima).

Graziano is an alumnus of the UNM Latin American Studies program. In the spring of 2012, he visited the Latin American & Iberian Institute to discuss the research behind his then upcoming book Undocumented Dominican Migration. An audio recording of his presentation is available on the LAII website.