Sexual Revolutions in Cuba
Passion, Politics, and Memory
Publication Year: 2012
Published by: The University of North Carolina Press
Title Page, Copyright
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FOREWORD: Cuban Voices
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The Cuban Revolution inspired fervent, often acrimonious arguments about its achievements and failures. For some, it was the last bastion of the communist dream; for others, a repressive, authoritarian regime.1 Largely missing from those debates were the voices of ordinary Cubans living on the island. As...
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This book grew out of a collective oral history project, and much of the research upon which it is based is collaborative. It could not have been written without the initiative, generosity, hard work, and backing of many people. First and foremost, I am indebted and very grateful to Elizabeth Dore, who...
INTRODUCTION: Sex, Politics, and Oral History in Cuba
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Do political revolutions bring changes in sexual values and practices? How do people living under a revolutionary regime perceive the relationship between political revolution, on one hand, and both the persisting and the changing patterns in sexual morality and behavior over time, on the other? How do...
1 Sexual Evolutions
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While there is no single overview of the history of sexuality in Cuba before and after the revolutionary victory of 1959, a number of studies engage with different aspects of that history. This chapter offers a critical overview of some of these works, which come from various disciplines: history, sociology...
2 Love and Revolution
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Near the end of his classic essay “Socialism and Man,” Ernesto “Che” Guevara writes, “Let me say, at the risk of sounding ridiculous, that the true revolutionary is guided by great feelings of love.”1 The text, in which Guevara outlines his concept of the “new man” under socialism, has inspired generations of...
3 New Women, New Men?
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We descend into Havana, strings of clouds outside my east-facing window. A “fair” 26 degrees [79 degrees Fahrenheit] on the ground (the same as in Miami, according to my free airport copy of The Sunday Times). Two full hours to get out of Havana airport. At 4:45 I emerge exhausted and...
4 Memory, Revolution, and Homophobia
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In early 2007 the brief appearance on Cuban national television of an aging functionary gave rise to a spirited debate among Cuban intellectuals about the legacy of the country’s cultural policy in the early 1970s.1 Known alternately as the quinquenio gris (five grey years) or the...
5 Homosexual Histories
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This chapter uses an interview with one man as the basis to explore a number of themes in relation to male homosexuality in contemporary Cuba. Pachy is a white, self-identified homosexual man. He was born in rural Cuba in 1964 but at the time of the interview with two female Cuban researchers in 2005...
6 Listening for Female Same-Sex Desire
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This chapter is located at the crossroads of oral history and the history of female same-sex desire. It opens with a series of excerpts from interviews with Cuban women who have relationships with other women in order to highlight the different ways each conceives the very idea of sexual orientation or...
7 Silence and Taboo
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This chapter explores two themes — silence and taboo — often associated with both sexuality and fieldwork. Oral historians, influenced in large part by psychoanalysis and literary theory, have argued that what remains unsaid in an interview is as important as that which is spoken.1 Silences also interest...
8 Sex in the Special Period
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Sex came back into focus in Cuban studies during the 1990s. The “Special Period in Times of Peace,” announced in August 1990, and the ensuing expansion of the tourist industry in an attempt to bring foreign currency to Cuba, gave rise in particular to a series of studies on jineterismo (hustling) and sex...
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The Cuban Revolution has had a profound impact on all areas of life, including sexuality. But as I’ve argued in this book, the transformation in sexual values and practices did not happen from one day to the next. Nor did the Revolution sweep away all remnants of conventional sexual mores. Indeed...
APPENDIX: List of Interviews
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Page Count: 320
Illustrations: 2 line drawings, 1 map
Publication Year: 2012
Series Title: EC