The 2014 Conference of the Dominican Studies Association (DSA), “Making a Difference…,” will return to Naugatuck Valley Community College on Thurs., May 1 and Fri., May 2, in the Playbox Theater, 750 Chase Parkway. The bi-annual interdisciplinary conference draws hundreds of scholars and students to panel discussions that explore the multiple narratives documenting the Dominican experience in the United States.
The Conference will commence at 1 p.m. on Thurs., May 1, with three 80-minute panel presentations, each featuring three essayists. At 5:30 p.m, the program will segue to the year’s final “Confluencia” program, which will thematically celebrate Dominican poets and culture.
On Fri., May 4, discussions will begin at 9:30 a.m. after opening remarks from President De Filippis and greetings from Victor Diaz, deputy commissioner of the Department of Motor Vehicles and President of the Greater Waterbury NAACP. Essayists hail from community colleges to Ivy League universities, extending as far geographically as the University of California and University of Houston.
This year’s keynote address will be delivered by Manhattan Deputy Borough President Aldrin Rafael Bonilla. Prior to becoming Deputy Borough President Bonilla served as CUNY in the Heights’ first executive director, leading that organization from start-up phase to a robust satellite campus extension of Hostos Community College, Borough of Manhattan Community College and the State University of New York ATTAIN Technology Lab.
This year’s Conference honoree is Rafael A. Lantigua, M.D., colloquially known as “the people’s doctor” to Dominicans in the New York and New Jersey area. According to the DSA, Dr. Lantigua has “graciously refused numerous high-profile appointments, choosing instead to promote young, promising Dominicans into public service and the private sector.”
The DSA was founded by NVCC President Daisy Cocco De Filippis, Ph.D., in 1996 to promote and disseminate Dominican intellectual production. The conference has been held continuously at De Filippis’ home institution and is supported through partnerships with NVCC, CUNY Dominican Studies Institute, Hostos Community College and the Latino Artists Roundtable (LART). According to President De Filippis, the field of Dominican studies has grown tremendously since she first examined the topic.
“At the time that I defended my dissertation in the fall of 1983, it represented the first dissertation written by a Dominican-American on an aspect of Dominican literature,” she said. “There are so many books and dissertations being written these days that I can rest assured that the area of studies has a bright future.”
For more information on the conference, visit: http://www.nv.edu/dsa