Photo by Kate Gardiner


Kate Gardiner (2015, Hertford) introduces her undergraduate dissertation 'A Nascent Nation', on the vast stateless population of ethnic Haitians in the Dominican Republic, which was highly commended by the RGS-IBG Developing Areas Research Group.

I spent 5 weeks conducting field research in bateyes, or old sugar villages, across the north of the island, interviewing such stateless persons. My research found that these people - born in the Dominican Republic but legally labelled as 'foreigners' and ostracised on racial grounds - had constructed complex and variegated understandings of nationality in order to survive. Subjects described a distinction between their 'handheld' and 'heartfelt' nationalities, yet asserted a belonging to both. My research therefore concluded that, given statelessness is primarily the deprivation of nationality, we must seek the provision and support of new, more flexible, notions of nationality to best address the global crisis of statelessness.