This accessible book offers a vivid geographic portrait of Cuba, exploring the island’s streetscapes, sugar cane fields, beaches, and rural settlements; its billboards, government buildings, and national landmarks. The authors illuminate how natural and built landscapes have shaped Cuban identity (cubanidad), and vice versa. They provide a unique perspective on Cuba’s distinct historical periods and political economies, from the colonial period through republicanism and today’s socialist era. Compelling topics include the legacies of slavery and the sugar industry, the past and future of urban development, and the impact of “islandness” on sociocultural processes.
Joseph L. Scarpaci is a broadly trained human geographer who has taught in public health, geography, urban studies, and planning programs at the Inter-American University of Puerto Rico, Rutgers University, the University of Iowa, Virginia Tech, and Virginia Military Institute. He is currently Associate Professor of Marketing at West Liberty University, Executive Director of the Center for the Study of Cuban Culture and Economy, and Vice President of the Havana Consulting Group. Dr. Scarpaci has been conducting research in Cuba since 1990 and has made 70 trips to the island. His books include Plazas and Barrios, Havana: Two Faces of the Antillean Metropolis, and Marketing without Advertising: Consumer Choice and Brand Preference in Cuba.
Armando H. Portela is a physical geographer who worked for 23 years in the Institute of Geography of the Cuban Academy of Sciences. He coauthored the section “Geomorphology (Relief)” in the Nuevo Atlas Nacional de Cuba (Institute of Geography of the Academy of Sciences of Cuba, 1989) and produced a number of geomorphologic maps of the island. He currently works at the Miami Herald and freelances for the newsletter CubaNews, where he regularly publishes on geographical issues of the island.
Scholars and students in regional geography and Latin American studies; other readers interested in Cuban history, politics, and culture. Will serve as a supplemental text for advanced undergraduate or graduate-level courses on Cuba, Latin America, or the Caribbean.