Ay Vieja

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Most anthropologists traffic in the collection of stories. We call them “vignettes,” inserting them into our narratives in ways that behoove our theoretic aims. There are some stories, however, that resist such extraction, living in the fields of our ethnographic research. They are public memory, told and retold by various people at different times. Mingolo’s story was one of these narratives in the rural border town where I conducted research. I never passed up an opportunity to listen to him talk story or list off his physical ailments. In this written rendition of an oral tradition, I have tried to remain loyal to the art of Caribbean storytelling, consolidating a kaleidoscopic range of perspectives, using footnotes (like Junot Díaz and Patrick Chamoiseau) to offer alternative dimensions and immersive textures. Untimely deaths have claimed many of those for whom I care deeply. Many of these deaths happened while I was living in the field, and writing was a way I felt I could remain in the presence of these people for just a few moments longer. This narrative is my attempt to piece together the shards in a mosaic of memories about a man who will be forever deeply missed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)129-137
Number of pages9
JournalAnthropology and Humanism
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Dominican Republic
  • borderlands
  • ethnographic fiction
  • police
  • storytelling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Philosophy
  • Literature and Literary Theory


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