Assistant Professor of
Daniel Arbino is an assistant professor of Spanish. He specializes in Caribbean literatures and Afro-Latin American cultures. He has previously published in Callaloo, Journal of Caribbean Literatures, Mester, Sargasso and most recently, Label Me Latina/o. Before coming to Centre, Daniel lived in Cincinnati, Albuquerque, Minneapolis, and Queretaro, Mexico.
Favorite book in college:
The Beach by Alex Garland. They made it into a not-so-great movie, but as usually the case, the book is so much better. It is sort of like Lord of the Flies, but about travelers attempting to escape the constant demands of a capitalist society by forming a small, secluded beach community.
Favorite discipline-related book:
Vejigantes by Francisco Arriví. This is a Puerto Rican play about three generations of women living in the same household. The three of them struggle to deal with racial identity in Puerto Rico as a result of societal pressures to whiten. I find this work to be extremely powerful in promoting an Afro-Puerto Rican sense of identity.
Book recommendation for students:
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz. This book balances humor with the struggles of immigrating to the United States as a result of a dark period in Dominican history under Dictator Rafael Trujillo. Students will appreciate Diaz’s use of language as well as his ability to mix hip-hop references, sci-fi references, and Dominican history into the same sentence.
One book you would have on a deserted island:
That would be La invención de Morel by Adolfo Bioy Casares. The novel, ironically, is set on a deserted island, but that’s not why I chose it. It’s a short novel, but one I would love to read multiple times. It’s about a fugitive who escapes to an island and then upper-class tourists begin to arrive on the island. The further you get into the novel, the more you realize what a beautiful love story it is set amidst technological innovation and different realities.
Jamaica Kincaid, Carmelo Rodriguez Torres, Junot Diaz, Edwidge Danticat, Juan Rulfo, Cola Debrot
Bloedlijn Overzee (Overseas Bloodline) by Loekie Morales. This is a Dutch Caribbean writer from Curaçao. In the story, the protagonist, who currently lives in the Netherlands, goes in search of her family’s history and ends up in Venezuela. It’s ultimately about favoring a horizontal relationship between Curaçao and Venezuela over a colonial relationship between Curaçao and the Netherlands.
They Came Before Columbus by Ivan van Sertima. This is an older, but still extremely relevant study on the African presence in the Americas before the arrival of the Europeans.