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Tigers of a Different StripePerforming Gender in Dominican Music$
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Sydney Hutchinson

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780226405322

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226405636.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 17 October 2019

Listening Sideways: The Transgenre Work of Rita Indiana

Listening Sideways: The Transgenre Work of Rita Indiana

(p.173) 7 Listening Sideways: The Transgenre Work of Rita Indiana
Tigers of a Different Stripe

Sydney Hutchinson

University of Chicago Press

This chapter examines the biography, novels, songs, and performances of Dominican novelist/songwriter Rita Indiana, showing how her works push audiences to confront uncomfortable truths about gender and race in the Black Atlantic through “listening sideways.” One of the only out and queer-identified lesbians in Dominican public life, Rita’s androgynous appearance and unconventional music both befuddled and attracted fans in her home country and beyond. This chapter discusses the use of music in Rita’s first three novels and analyzes songs from her three musical projects: Casifull, Miti Miti, and Los Misterios. The conjunction of sounds with images in music videos adds another layer to the music’s complex meanings: “El Juidero” deals with the Dominican Republic’s oppressive political history while validating Afro-Dominican belief systems and homosexuals’ roles within them; “La Hora de Volvé” discusses transnational migration and its effects; and “El Blue del Ping Pong” examines homosexual desire as well as the intersection of race and gender in sexualized dances like perreo. The author argues that Rita’s works are transgressive in foregrounding alternative sexualities and modes of gender performance, but are also a culmination of established modes of Dominican musicking and gendering; taken together, they succeed in transforming both gender and genre.

Keywords:   queer performance, literature, genre, race, music video, migration, politics, dance, popular music, Rita Indiana

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