“The Resort That Shame Forgot”: Junot Díaz and the Changing Landscape of La Romana

Abstract:

Recent critics have lamented the lack of attention to specific spaces, lands, and localities in the “deterritorialized” discourse that often dominates contemporary studies of globalization. In order to understand the impact of globalization on recent developments in multiethnic U.S. literature, I argue that we must attend to the histories of specific spaces and localities. Thus, I want to understand “The Changing Landscape of American Multiethnic Literature” to include physical, as well as metaphorical, landscapes. In this paper I explore how the landscape of La Romana in the Dominican Republic has been shaped and disciplined by global capitalism and neoliberal economic policies since the late 1960s. I combine a reading of Junot Díaz’s “The Sun, the Moon, the Stars” (2012) with a corporate genealogy of Casa de Campo, a resort located in La Romana which was developed by the U.S. corporation Gulf and Western in 1975. Gulf and Western’s involvement in the Dominican Republic was precipitated by global and regional economic crises, and the corporation’s development of the first free trade zone in the country in 1969 arguably contributes to ongoing crises in the nation. In “The Sun, the Moon, the Stars,” the narrator, Yunior, reluctantly visits Casa de Campo and recounts his revulsion for the “goddamn fortress.” Juxtaposing the resort’s marketing texts and the history of Gulf and Western with Yunior’s disgust enables me to investigate how Díaz’s narrative contests the logic of exclusion that governs the development of spaces such as La Romana’s zona turística.

Because I combined literary interpretation with readings of marketing texts in this paper, the visual components of the presentation were important. Here is the Prezi I designed to display some of my visual archive.

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