Cuba in the Special Period: Culture and Ideology in the 1990s

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This collection is a multidisciplinary evaluation of the impact of market reforms in Cuba's cultural policies and practices after the fall of the Soviet bloc. Anthropologists, musicologists, and literary, film, media, and art scholars examine revolutionary discourses, representations of people and places, ideologies and practices of cultural production, dissemination and consumption, and the circulation of various cultural forms in transnational networks of publicity and exchange. These insightful contributions shed light on the changes that Cuba's opening to global markets of mass culture brought to the cultural field during the so-called Special Period in Times of Peace.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"A necessary and welcome reflection on the Special Period in Cuba as an instance of late socialism . . . these insightful essays shed light on the changes that Cuba's opening to global markets of mass culture brought to the cultural field . . . This important collection is a valuable contribution to a long overdue and necessary dialogue." - New West Indian Guide

"Those readers, who, like me, lived in Cuba during the austere Special Period, will find echoes of their own experiences.However, those who have never even visited the island will also discover a great deal in the rich details of these essays. This specificity is the book's strength - in providing rich detail." - Helen Yaffe, Journal of Cuban Studies

"The well-researched essays, covering topics as diverse as literature, art, Santeria, cinema, rap and issues of identity and ethnicity provide rich accounts of the key themes and contractions of the Special Period and how they affected specific groups of cultural producers and expressive communities. Linking them together is the question of how the combination of weakened state institutions, economic crisis and new access to transnational flows of capital and ideas fostered the conditions for new modes of expression and the rearticulation of identities. Each individual essay offers a detailed and at times nuanced interpretation of the complex relationship between culture and ideology and, as such, will be of interest to any student or follower of Cuban culture." - Meesha Nehru, The Journal of Latin American Studies

"This is a first rate collection comprised of work by respected specialists who develop a collective view of a knotty issue: how Cuban socialism survived, or didn't, in the period attending the dissolution of the Soviet Union. While the express ambition of the book is to refine debates about globalization, to read Hernandez's introduction, the fate of late socialism, and other broad political and economic patterns of observation, the practice of focusing on particular cultural phenomena makes good on the ambition precisely because macro questions cede to the micro-histories of art's negotiation with particular constraints and opportunities. A strong contribution to the field." - Doris Sommer, Ira and Jewell Williams Professor of Romance Languages and Literatures, Harvard University

"This book offers a definitive backward-glance at a contradictory threshold in Cuban history, a moment that has been celebrated and over-exposed at the level of consumption but relatively under-analyzed. Hernandez-Reguant's unprecedented collection gathers a host of thinkers who dwell critically in the culture of the Special Period and think through its contradictions with subtlety and rigor. Hernandez-Reguant and her contributors illuminate what was at stake - politically, culturally, and socially - in the Special Period, and remind us why it is important to understand both its exceptionality and its lasting effects." - Ana Maria Dopico, Associate Professor of Comparative Literature and Spanish and Portuguese, New York University

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Ariana Hernandez-Reguant is a cultural anthropologist and a professor of media studies at the University of California, San Diego. She is the author of many academic as well as popular articles on Cuban music, media, and intellectual thought. A Spanish native, she spent several years in Cuba during the Special Period.

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Table of Contents

1 Writing the Special Period: An Introduction Ariana Hernandez-Reguant Hernandez-Reguant, Ariana

1 Foreign Commerce

2 Truths and Fictions: The Economics of Writing, 1994-1999 Esther Whitfield Whitfield, Esther

3 Filmmaking with Foreigners Cristina Venegas Venegas, Cristina

4 Spiritual Capital: Foreign Patronage and the Trafficking of Santeria Kevin M. Delgado Delgado, Kevin M.

2 Plural Nation

5 Multicubanidad Ariana Hernandez-Reguant Hernandez-Reguant, Ariana

6 Preemptive Nostalgia and La Batalla for Cuban Identity: Option Zero Theater Laurie Frederik Frederik, Laurie

7 Wandering in Russian Jacqueline Loss Loss, Jacqueline

8 The "Letter of the Year" and the Prophecies of Revolution Kenneth Routon Routon, Kenneth

3 Transnational Publics

9 El Rap Cubano: Can't Stop, Won't Stop the Movement! Roberto Zurbano Zurbano, Roberto

10 Audiovisual Remittances and Transnational Subjectivities Lisa Maya Knauer Knauer, Lisa Maya

11 Ending the Century with Memories...: Paper Money, Videos, and an X-Acto Knife for Cuban Art Antonio Eligio Fernandez Fernandez, Antonio Eligio



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