Digital Humanities

58 Sebring Rubirosa BobK - web


Our aim is to examine the various mythologies and texts that obsessively rehearse Porfirio Rubirosa’s life and fame. Rubirosa’s career trajectory is situated within a particularly complex period of Dominican history: in the shadow of the Cold War and under the protection of Trujillo, Rubirosa invaded the international media imaginary, resituating Dominican marginality in the discourse of stardom and modernity. “A tireless presence at chic nightspots and watering holes, a keen race-car driver and polo player, a friend to the rich and infamous, a relentless pursuer of women with huge bank accounts,” the New York Times noted, “he went on a lifelong tear that ended, fittingly, with a spectacular car crash in 1965 after a night of heavy drinking at a Paris club.” Yet how can we critically approach and reengage the hyper-masculinity and problematically racialized subjectivity of a man who has come to represent the Dominican—and even international—“macho’s macho”?

We examine his career and impact through Scalar, a born-digital scholarship platform that allows us to integrate visual and audio material (media clips, images, sound recordings, interviews, etc.) and scholarly writing into a new “text” that introduces forms of writing and reading that better attend to the overlapping and interrelatedness of concepts and contexts.




A digital project, edited with Michael Aronna (Vassar College) dedicated to Gonzalo Fernández de Oviedo’s Historia General de las Indias, now in the early stages of development, which will include an annotated version of its fifty books in the original Spanish, and a full translation into English of the complete text (the first ever) as well as critical and interpretative material.

Gonzalo Fernández de Oviedo (1478–1557) was one of the most important early chroniclers of the Spanish conquest of the Americas. The Historia general y natural de las Indias (General and natural history of the Indies) was his most important work. The 19 books of the first part of the history were published in Seville in 1535 and the first book of the second part, in 1552, but the complete work was not published until 1851–55 by the Spanish Academy of History. Oviedo, in addition to his gifts as a historian, was an important ethnologist and naturalist. He played, according to the Library of Congress, a “key role in the history of American science, especially biology, as he was the first to study and describe, with great accuracy, many species of animals and plants.”