Insurgent Cuba: Race, Nation, and Revolution, 1868-1898

Insurgent Cuba: Race, Nation, and Revolution, 1868-1898

by Ada Ferrer
     
 

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In the late nineteenth century, in an age of ascendant racism and imperial expansion, there emerged in Cuba a movement that unified black, mulatto, and white men in an attack on Europe's oldest empire, with the goal of creating a nation explicitly defined as antiracist. This book tells the story of the thirty-year unfolding and undoing of that movement.

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Overview

In the late nineteenth century, in an age of ascendant racism and imperial expansion, there emerged in Cuba a movement that unified black, mulatto, and white men in an attack on Europe's oldest empire, with the goal of creating a nation explicitly defined as antiracist. This book tells the story of the thirty-year unfolding and undoing of that movement.

Ada Ferrer examines the participation of black and mulatto Cubans in nationalist insurgency from 1868, when a slaveholder began the revolution by freeing his slaves, until the intervention of racially segregated American forces in 1898. In so doing, she uncovers the struggles over the boundaries of citizenship and nationality that their participation brought to the fore, and she shows that even as black participation helped sustain the movement ideologically and militarily, it simultaneously prompted accusations of race war and fed the forces of counterinsurgency.

Carefully examining the tensions between racism and antiracism contained within Cuban nationalism, Ferrer paints a dynamic portrait of a movement built upon the coexistence of an ideology of racial fraternity and the persistence of presumptions of hierarchy.

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Editorial Reviews

Times Literary Supplement
An admirable book; Ada Ferrer has attentively examined the dynamics between the racial groups involved in Cuba's struggle towards independence.... [She] meticulously documents these struggles and provocatively reinterprets them. Most impressive is her ability to keep her analytical eye close to the Cuban ground.
American Historical Review
Ferrer's book is a significant contribution to the historiography on race and race relations in Cuba, its revolutionary movements, and on the construction of Cuban nationhood.
Latin American Research Review
Ferrer is particularly successful at showing how notions of freedom, citizenship, race, labor, and cubanidad were all contested social constructs that were forged in the context of Cuba's two wars for independence.
Journal of American History
This book is the best overview in English of the role of race in the Cuban independence movement.
Journal of Military History
This is a painful story that has never been told before, because race has never been placed so squarely at the center of the Cuban revolution, where it belongs.
From the Publisher
Ferrer's book is a significant contribution to the historiography on race and race relations in Cuba.

American Historical Review

This book is the best overview in English of the role of race in the Cuban independence movement.

Journal of American History

Anyone who wants to understand modern Cuba should read Ferrer's account of the Cuban insurgency.

Journal of Military History

An admirable book; Ada Ferrer has attentively examined the dynamics between the racial groups involved in Cuba's struggle towards independence.

Times Literary Supplement

[An] important analysis of race in early Cuban nationalism.

Choice

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780807875742
Publisher:
The University of North Carolina Press
Publication date:
10/12/2005
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
288
Sales rank:
1,292,935
File size:
3 MB

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
[An] important analysis of race in early Cuban nationalism.—Choice

An admirable book; Ada Ferrer has attentively examined the dynamics between the racial groups involved in Cuba's struggle towards independence. . . . [She] meticulously documents these struggles and provocatively reinterprets them. Most impressive is her ability to keep her analytical eye close to the Cuban ground.—Times Literary Supplement

[This] study combines in-depth archival research in Cuba with a judicious use of more recent writing on race, nationalism, and postcolonial theory. Ferrer is particularly successful at showing how notions of freedom, citizenship, race, labor, and cubanidad were all contested social constructs that were forged in the context of Cuba's two wars for independence.—Latin American Research Review

Ada Ferrer's study of the Cuban revolution is one of the most original and stimulating treatments of race relations and racial ideologies in the Americas that I have seen in a decade. The book should have an appeal to both Latin American specialists and to students of race and racism in the Americas and elsewhere. This is a powerful story, powerfully told.—Thomas C. Holt, University of Chicago

Ferrer's book is a significant contribution to the historiography on race and race relations in Cuba, its revolutionary movements, and on the construction of Cuban nationhood. . . . An insightful study on Cuba's subaltern population and the role it played in constructing the Republic of Cuba. It should be read in courses on race relations and independence movements in Latin America and the Caribbean.—American Historical Review

An exhaustively researched, brilliant, and absorbing reinterpretation of Cuba's nineteenth-century revolution, emphasizing its anticolonial and antiracist rhetoric and dimensions. Ferrer's original and nuanced analysis captures the complex nature of the struggle and its inner tensions and contradictions. An outstanding contribution to Cuban historiography.—Colin A. Palmer, Graduate School and University Center, City University of New York

This book is the best overview in English of the role of race in the Cuban independence movement. . . . This book makes clear both the great accomplishments in day-to-day race relations that were achieved and the deep structures of race that still stood when the Yankees intervened.—Journal of American History

This is a painful story that has never been told before, because race has never been placed so squarely at the center of the Cuban revolution, where it belongs. Ferrer cuts against the grain of a romantic, nationalist Cuban historiography that tends to see only what was inclusive and progressive in the wars for liberation. Anyone who wants to understand modern Cuba should read Ferrer's account of the Cuban insurgency.—Journal of Military History

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