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Cuban Diaspora Studies: Interdisciplinary Workshop: Topic Statement

From the XVI century when Cuba and Florida were subordinated to the Viceroyalty of the New Spain and economically bound by the slave trade to the XXIst, the Cuba and the United States has been deeply marked by mass migration, displacement, and exile. The field of Cuban Studies has devoted special attention to the 1959 revolution and its relationship Cuban immigration to the U.S. While this approach has not come to an exhaustion, other scholars have implored the field to move “beyond the Cuban Exile model,” as Raquel Nancy Mirabal phrased it (2003). For instance, recent works have investigated Afro-Cubans in New York City from the 1920s to the 1950s (Abreu, 2015; Lopez 2012; Mirabal 2003, 2017). Furthermore, scholars have encouraged historical work that spans before and after the Cuban Revolution of 1959 rather than focusing on one or the other. Due to these new imperatives, researchers have placed more weight on the analysis of race and gender than previous scholarship. This is vital considering the crucial role race, gender, and other registers of difference played on the island and in the U.S. Mirabal argues that these frameworks are imperative because “race and gender were pivotal to the formation of early Cuban exile and migrant communities” (Mirabal, 2003). Connected to these endeavors, a growing literature has examined Afro-Cubans on the island and in the diaspora (Abreu, 2015; Gosin, 2017; Lopez 2012; Mirabal 2003, 2017; Vazquez, 2013), which is a much older tradition by Cuban intellectuals on the island. These efforts would be advanced by Albert Sergio Laguna’s (2017) call to research U.S.-born Cubans, which only a few have taken up (Gosin, 2017).

Just as the scholarship on Cuba and its diaspora spans a variety of disciplines and fields, this Interdisciplinary Workshop also spans the University of Michigan with graduate students, staff and faculty from the departments of American Culture; Anthropology; History; Film, Television, Media; Music; Romance Languages and Literature; Sociology; and the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (LACS). Members seek to grapple with current academic literature in the hopes that we may, in the near future, contribute to this ever-growing scholarship.

Keywords: Cuba, Cuban Diaspora, Exile, Transnational Studies, Hemispheric relations, Afro-Cuban, Cuban-American, Cuban Media, Latinidad, Revolution, Cold War Geopolitics, Queer Cuba, Cuban Music, Cuban Culture.

For more information about Rackham Interdisciplinary Workshops (RIWs) click here.

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