• Cloth: $104.95 - In Stock
    978-0-8223-4486-5
  • Paperback: $29.95 - In Stock
    978-0-8223-4482-7
  • Quantity
  • Add To Bag
  • Preface ix

    Acknowledgments xiii

    Introduction. Populism as Vernacular Practice 1

    1. The Dominican Belle Époque, 1922 25

    2. San Zenón and the Making of Cuidad Trujillo 66

    3. The Master of Ceremonies 109

    4. Compatriotas! El Jefe Calls 135

    5. Clothes Make the Man 173

    6. Trujillo's Two Bodies 204

    7. Papá Liborio and the Morality of Rule 227

    Conclusion. Charisma and the Gift of Recognition 257

    Notes 267

    Bibliography 353

    Index 393
  • Co-winner, 2010 Gordon K. and Sybil Lewis Award (presented by the Caribbean Studies Association)

    Honorable Mention, 2010 Bryce Wood Book Award

    Winner, Bolton-Johnson Prize from the Council on Latin American History, American Historical Association

  • The Dictator’s Seduction contains an absorbing cultural history . . . and a thought-provoking, entirely comparatively formulated investigation of authoritarianism and the politics of ceremony, ritual and symbolism. . . . The Dictator’s Seduction is a long-awaited book that delivers on its promises. It is essential reading for scholars of contemporary repressive regimes and the politics of symbolism, ritual and masculinity. Vividly and clearly written, it will be used in courses as well as broadly debated.”

    “[T]his is an ambitious historical ethnography of the state by an accomplished cultural historian cum anthropologist that opens new paths to studying dictatorships and other political regimes. It is notable for the author’s extraordinary grasp of social theory and comparative cases from the Caribbean, Latin America, and elsewhere, which she uses to make sense of this particular regime in its social and cultural context. . . . Not least important, it is engagingly written.”

    “Derby has written a provocative book that will certainly find many readers. In addition to the insights it gives in recent Dominican history, it can also be read as a plea for a new kind of cultural studies. . . . [H]er book provides us with a very original, adventurous and highly readable analysis of a crucial period in Dominican and, we may add, Latin American history.“

    “In The Dictator’s Seduction, written, and in particular, oral sources are brilliantly and creatively interrogated and the final product is a very innovative, creative and compelling study of the Trujillato and of populism and its politics and practices in general.”

    “Lauren Derby’s monograph makes a significant contribution to Dominican historiography and scholarship on populism, Latin American and Caribbean dictatorship, and gender and sexuality. . . . [T]he text offers much needed assessment of popular culture in the Dominican Republic during and after the Trujillo regime.”

    “There is no doubt that this book provides various insights into a crucial period of Dominican historiography that had reverberations across the Caribbean and Latin America. It pushes scholars toward new forms of comparative research and incites questions about the role of populations within hegemonic structures of power. In the end, one is forced to ask whether the theater of the state has yet to be dismantled.”

    The Dictator’s Seduction is an outstanding and original book that is surprising in its originality and depth and displays a clear command of this period in Dominican history. Experts and beginning students of Dominican affairs will find this book a worthy read.”

    “Derby’s cultural history of the Era of Trujillo is a valuable contribution to the study of the regime. Her research, which is enhanced by her use of anthropological tools, should serve as a guide to historians as they reevaluate other twentieth-century Latin American dictatorships. An engaging and well-written study, The Dictator’s Seduction will benefit scholars and students of Dominican history.”

    “Lauren Derby has written a fascinating cultural history of the brutal, three-decade-long Trujillo regime, illustrating the complex and complicit relationship between the dictator and the Dominican pueblo.”

    “Lauren Derby’s book changes our understanding of Rafael Trujillo’s infamous dictatorship in the Dominican Republic. . . . This is a creative, original, and ambitious book. It is full of insights and wonderful ideas. . . . Derby turns received historical interpretations upside down. She does not shy away from controversy; indeed, she seems to seek it. In my view that is what it takes to be a very good historian.”

    “What is fascinating about Derby’s study is her ability to pull from a variety of primary sources to support her methodology and topics addressed throughout text. Her study draws on several important and untapped archival documents from international and domestic repositories in addition to oral histories that reveal the voices of the popular masses.”

    Awards

  • Co-winner, 2010 Gordon K. and Sybil Lewis Award (presented by the Caribbean Studies Association)

    Honorable Mention, 2010 Bryce Wood Book Award

    Winner, Bolton-Johnson Prize from the Council on Latin American History, American Historical Association

  • Reviews

  • The Dictator’s Seduction contains an absorbing cultural history . . . and a thought-provoking, entirely comparatively formulated investigation of authoritarianism and the politics of ceremony, ritual and symbolism. . . . The Dictator’s Seduction is a long-awaited book that delivers on its promises. It is essential reading for scholars of contemporary repressive regimes and the politics of symbolism, ritual and masculinity. Vividly and clearly written, it will be used in courses as well as broadly debated.”

    “[T]his is an ambitious historical ethnography of the state by an accomplished cultural historian cum anthropologist that opens new paths to studying dictatorships and other political regimes. It is notable for the author’s extraordinary grasp of social theory and comparative cases from the Caribbean, Latin America, and elsewhere, which she uses to make sense of this particular regime in its social and cultural context. . . . Not least important, it is engagingly written.”

    “Derby has written a provocative book that will certainly find many readers. In addition to the insights it gives in recent Dominican history, it can also be read as a plea for a new kind of cultural studies. . . . [H]er book provides us with a very original, adventurous and highly readable analysis of a crucial period in Dominican and, we may add, Latin American history.“

    “In The Dictator’s Seduction, written, and in particular, oral sources are brilliantly and creatively interrogated and the final product is a very innovative, creative and compelling study of the Trujillato and of populism and its politics and practices in general.”

    “Lauren Derby’s monograph makes a significant contribution to Dominican historiography and scholarship on populism, Latin American and Caribbean dictatorship, and gender and sexuality. . . . [T]he text offers much needed assessment of popular culture in the Dominican Republic during and after the Trujillo regime.”

    “There is no doubt that this book provides various insights into a crucial period of Dominican historiography that had reverberations across the Caribbean and Latin America. It pushes scholars toward new forms of comparative research and incites questions about the role of populations within hegemonic structures of power. In the end, one is forced to ask whether the theater of the state has yet to be dismantled.”

    The Dictator’s Seduction is an outstanding and original book that is surprising in its originality and depth and displays a clear command of this period in Dominican history. Experts and beginning students of Dominican affairs will find this book a worthy read.”

    “Derby’s cultural history of the Era of Trujillo is a valuable contribution to the study of the regime. Her research, which is enhanced by her use of anthropological tools, should serve as a guide to historians as they reevaluate other twentieth-century Latin American dictatorships. An engaging and well-written study, The Dictator’s Seduction will benefit scholars and students of Dominican history.”

    “Lauren Derby has written a fascinating cultural history of the brutal, three-decade-long Trujillo regime, illustrating the complex and complicit relationship between the dictator and the Dominican pueblo.”

    “Lauren Derby’s book changes our understanding of Rafael Trujillo’s infamous dictatorship in the Dominican Republic. . . . This is a creative, original, and ambitious book. It is full of insights and wonderful ideas. . . . Derby turns received historical interpretations upside down. She does not shy away from controversy; indeed, she seems to seek it. In my view that is what it takes to be a very good historian.”

    “What is fascinating about Derby’s study is her ability to pull from a variety of primary sources to support her methodology and topics addressed throughout text. Her study draws on several important and untapped archival documents from international and domestic repositories in addition to oral histories that reveal the voices of the popular masses.”

  • “Beautifully written and meticulously researched, The Dictator’s Seduction is essential reading for scholars of repressive regimes and the machinery of violence that keeps dictators in power. Rafael Trujillo insinuated himself into his citizens’ public and private lives. Lauren Derby connects Trujillo’s backstage political machinations and private obsessions with his public image and spectacles.” — Denise Brennan, author of, What’s Love Got to Do with It? Transnational Desires and Sex Tourism in the Dominican Republic

    “Lauren Derby turns much of the conventional wisdom about Rafael Trujillo on its head, and she backs up her revision with powerful archival evidence. This fascinating book will also be regarded as a masterwork of comparative research on authoritarianism and the politics of innuendo, spectacle, and symbolism.” — Eric Paul Roorda, author of, The Dictator Next Door

    “The character of dictatorship—with its paradoxical reliance on coercive excess and pandering to the demos—has fascinated generations of Latin America’s most exciting fiction writers, from Miguel Ángel Asturias and Alejo Carpentier to Gabriel García Márquez, Jorge Ibargüengoitia, and Mario Vargas Llosa. The Dictator’s Seduction is an historian’s counterpart to this literature. Lauren Derby develops the ideas of these writers, takes further insights from anthropologists who have worked on state magic, and produces a methodologically innovative and entirely fresh history of the Dominican Republic under Rafael Trujillo. This is one of the most exciting works in contemporary Latin American political history.” — Claudio Lomnitz, author of, Death and the Idea of Mexico

  • Permission to Photocopy (coursepacks)

    If you are requesting permission to photocopy material for classroom use, please contact the Copyright Clearance Center at copyright.com;

    If the Copyright Clearance Center cannot grant permission, you may request permission from our Copyrights & Permissions Manager (use Contact Information listed below).

    Permission to Reprint

    If you are requesting permission to reprint DUP material (journal or book selection) in another book or in any other format, contact our Copyrights & Permissions Manager (use Contact Information listed below).

    Images/Art

    Many images/art used in material copyrighted by Duke University Press are controlled, not by the Press, but by the owner of the image. Please check the credit line adjacent to the illustration, as well as the front and back matter of the book for a list of credits. You must obtain permission directly from the owner of the image. Occasionally, Duke University Press controls the rights to maps or other drawings. Please direct permission requests for these images to permissions@dukeupress.edu.
    For book covers to accompany reviews, please contact the publicity department.

    Subsidiary Rights/Foreign Translations

    If you're interested in a Duke University Press book for subsidiary rights/translations, please contact permissions@dukeupress.edu. Include the book title/author, rights sought, and estimated print run.

    Disability Requests

    Instructions for requesting an electronic text on behalf of a student with disabilities are available here.

    Rights & Permissions Contact Information

    Email: permissions@dukeupress.edu
    Email contact for coursepacks: asstpermissions@dukeupress.edu
    Fax: 919-688-4574
    Mail:
    Duke University Press
    Rights and Permissions
    905 W. Main Street
    Suite 18B
    Durham, NC 27701

    For all requests please include:
    1. Author's name. If book has an editor that is different from the article author, include editor's name also.
    2. Title of the journal article or book chapter and title of journal or title of book
    3. Page numbers (if excerpting, provide specifics)
    For coursepacks, please also note: The number of copies requested, the school and professor requesting
    For reprints and subsidiary rights, please also note: Your volume title, publication date, publisher, print run, page count, rights sought
  • Description

    The dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo, who ruled the Dominican Republic from 1930 until his assassination in 1961, was one of the longest and bloodiest in Latin American history. The Dictator’s Seduction is a cultural history of the Trujillo regime as it was experienced in the capital city of Santo Domingo. Focusing on everyday forms of state domination, Lauren Derby describes how the regime infiltrated civil society by fashioning a “vernacular politics” based on popular idioms of masculinity and fantasies of race and class mobility. Derby argues that the most pernicious aspect of the dictatorship was how it appropriated quotidian practices such as gossip and gift exchange, leaving almost no place for Dominicans to hide or resist.

    Drawing on previously untapped documents in the Trujillo National Archives and interviews with Dominicans who recall life under the dictator, Derby emphasizes the role that public ritual played in Trujillo’s exercise of power. His regime included the people in affairs of state on a massive scale as never before. Derby pays particular attention to how events and projects were received by the public as she analyzes parades and rallies, the rebuilding of Santo Domingo following a major hurricane, and the staging of a year-long celebration marking the twenty-fifth year of Trujillo’s regime. She looks at representations of Trujillo, exploring how claims that he embodied the popular barrio antihero the tíguere (tiger) stoked a fantasy of upward mobility and how a rumor that he had a personal guardian angel suggested he was uniquely protected from his enemies. The Dictator’s Seduction sheds new light on the cultural contrivances of autocratic power.

    About The Author(s)

    Lauren Derby is Assistant Professor of History at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Explore More
Share

Create a reading list or add to an existing list. Sign-in or register now to continue.


Contact Us

  • Duke University Press
  • 905 W. Main St. Ste 18-B
  • Durham, NC 27701
  • U.S. phone (toll-free): 888-651-0122
  • International: 1-919-688-5134
  • orders@dukeupress.edu