René Cordero was born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic but raised in the heart of Spanish Harlem. His research chronicles the unexplored history of the Autonomous University of Santo Domingo (UASD) in the Dominican Republic and how it offers exciting analytical and empirical terrain to scholarship on Afro-Latin American studies.
"My work tells the story of how the UASD, as a public institution, became the center of debates about Dominican racism, authoritarianism, and imperialism. Through oral histories, state archives, photographs, and personal archives, I show how the UASD reflected the country’s constant negotiation between the triadic forces of U.S. imperialism, domestic authoritarianism, and the presence of Haiti in both lived experience and national imagination.
Until very recently, the Dominican Republic has occupied somewhat of a purgatory position within scholarship on race and nation and Cold War studies. Due to its unique blend of both state-endorsed racism and discourses of racial democracy, the Dominican Republic has left many scholars mystified by its unrecognizable traits. Its proximity to Revolutionary Cuba during the Cold War further relegated its complexity to the simplified binaries of communism vs. anti-communism. My work showcases a new cast of characters in Latin American and Caribbean history by bringing a racial and Caribbean lens to the struggles of young activists during the heady 1960s.
I am also the Opening the Archives Dominican Republic (OTA) project coordinator. Coordinated under the directorship of Professor James Green, OTA makes thousands of declassified documents about Dominican and U.S. relations during the Cold War available for scholars, students, and the public.
In Fall 2025, I will join John Jay College (CUNY) as an Assistant Professor of Latin American and Latinx Studies. A two-year writing fellowship at Williams College will precede this position."