Dr. Danny Méndez

2016 CUNY Dominican Archives and Library Research Grant

Danny Méndez earned his Ph.D. in Caribbean literatures from the University of Texas at Austin. He is an Associate Professor of Spanish in the Department of Romance and Classical Studies and a Core-Faculty of the Program of Global Studies in Arts and Humanities (GSAH) at Michigan State University. His research interests include Hispanic Caribbean literatures and cultures, Latino/a studies, critical race theory, gender and sexuality in a global context, and migration studies.

Dr. Méndez’s first book, based on his doctoral dissertation, focuses on contemporary narrative representations of Dominican migrations to the United States and Puerto Rico, it analyzes the particular ways in which these narratives challenge conceptions of Latin American literature and the disciplinary boundaries of Latino Studies. Dr. Méndez’s work engages in a literary analysis of narrative representations of Dominican migration during the 20th century that specifically focuses on such experiences in New York, the U.S., and Puerto Rico, thus taking a geographically diverse Dominican diaspora community as its subject. Dr. Méndez specifically focuses on the work of Pedro Henríquez Ureña, José Luis González, Magali García Ramis, and Ana Lydia Vega.

His current project is a literary analysis that is also very much in the vein of cultural studies, and explores eccentricity and exuberance as manifestations of agency and power within the work of Dominican female performers. For this research, he worked with the Normandía Maldonado collection in the CUNY Dominican Studies Institute  Archives, where he focused on Dominican performers such as María Montez, Angelita Curiel (La Mulatona), Charytin Goyco, and  Normandía Maldonado. He is specifically interested in the ways that Dominican female performers use performance and presentation to challenge and deliver a critical analysis of prevailing notions of nationality and femininity, and he sees this work as representing aspects of feminisms that play with the experience of the Dominican diaspora.