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The Dominican Republic

Culture, Race and Baseball

Explore cultural studies through the lens of literature and sports and discover the rich complexity of our Caribbean island neighbor!

Many know that Dominican players are numerous within the MLB system, but this faculty-led study abroad program allows students to explore the wider cultural, economic, and political conditions that structure Dominicans’ relationship to baseball.  Through a partnership with Yspaniola: Education in the Dominican Republic, “an education focused non-profit based in Batey Libertad, a community in the Cibao Valley,” program participants will learn about life in bateyes (rural communities organized around or near sugarcane plantations).  Yspaniola is oriented toward promoting social justice by providing educational access to underprivileged children living in the batey.

Students will be immersed in Dominican and Haitian batey culture through home-stays in Batey Libertad itself.  In addition to learning about Yspaniola's broad work in education, students will serve as reading and homework tutors in the Batey Libertad Learning Center. Through Yspaniola’s local relationships, students will also learn about the work that local Jesuit human rights and immigrant advocacy organizations (Solidaridad Fronteriza and CEFASA) do among Haitian immigrants and Dominicans of Haitian origin.

Participants will attend a Dominican Winter League playoff game, visit el Estadio del Cibao in Santiago, and tour both MLB and local baseball academies.  Students will also visit historically significant sites, including Santo Domingo’s Zona Colonial (Colonial Zone), a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home of the oldest cathedral in the Americas.

The week abroad in the Dominican Republic during the January intersession will feed into the rest of the spring semester course, with its broader focus on questions of race, culture, and baseball in 20th century U.S. and Caribbean literatures.

Program Dates: January 9 to 15, 2016

Program Itinerary

Course: English 3690 – Special Topics in Literature and Culture: Culture, Race, and Baseball Syllabus

Faculty Director: Raj Chetty, Ph.D
Assistant Professor of English, chettyr@stjohns.edu

Professor Chetty teaches and publishes on Caribbean literature and Black/African diaspora, with a specific focus on Dominican literature and culture. His publications and conference presentations have dealt with Dominican racial issues, including baseball, theater, poetry, and fiction. Most recently, he co-edited and wrote the introduction for a special issue of The Black Scholar on “Dominican Black Studies,” and co-translated two poems included in that issue. He also teaches a 6-week summer course in Santo Domingo on Sport and Society through the study abroad program provider CIEE.

Program Fee: $1375.  Please keep in mind that the program fee does not cover airfare or course tuition.

Application Deadline: October 15, 2015

Confirmation Deadline: October 22, 2015

Status: This program is confirmed for January 2016

Pre-Departure Orientation:
          Monday, November 30th from 1 to 2pm (DAC 307)

Mandatory Cultural Mentorship Workshop: (choose one)
         Saturday, November 14th from 10 to 11:30am (MAR 328)
        Thursday, December 3rd from 2 to 3:15pm (MAR 219)