Hispaniola: One island – two very different countries. The relatively well-off Dominican Republic and poor, disaster-stricken Haiti. The Dominican Republic’s GDP is nearly ten times that of Haiti. The gap in measures of health and education is similarly large. A century of migration from Haiti to the Dominican Republic has created mutual fear and distrust of the other nation’s people. Why are these two countries so different, where does the animosity come from and how does this impact the daily lives of residents on both sides of the border?
Through a conversation between Kimberly Wynne and Jørgen Sørlie Yri we will explore what it means to be Dominican and Haitian on the border and how the relationship between these two nationalities is continuously shaped and reshaped. We will also discuss the use and abuse of “the other”: How do the contrasting histories of Haiti and the Dominican Republic bring about a relationship marked more by “othering» than by cohesion?
Kimberly Wynne is an anthropologist. Her doctoral dissertation is based on ethnographic research among residents near the Dominican-Haitian border.
Jørgen Sørlie Yri is an assistant professor at NTNU. He has many years of experience from travels to the Dominican Republic and Haiti.