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Cultural History of Cuba during the U.S. Occupation, 1898-1902

Marial Iglesias Utset

Publication Year: 2011

In this cultural history of the United States's brief occupation of Cuba during the transitional period between empires from 1898-1902, Marial Iglesias Utset explores the complex influences and pressures that guided the formation and production of a burgeoning Cuban nationalism. Drawing from a broad range of archival and published sources, Iglesias illustrates the process by which Cubans of all classes maintained and created their own culturally relevant national symbols in spite of U.S. efforts, overt or covert, to shape the process and outcome of modernization according to its own mold. At the same time, Iglesias Utset argues, the Cuban response to U.S. imperialism, though largely critical, was not monolithically oppositional and indeed involved elements of reliance, accommodation, and welcome.

Published by: The University of North Carolina Press

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. ix-xi

In the first instance, I would like to thank my scholarly adviser, María del Carmen Barcia, for her intellectual generosity and her many valuable suggestions. I am also grateful to Oscar Zanetti, Oscar Loyola, Berta Álvarez, and Olga Portuondo, each of whom read and offered insightful observations on...

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pp. 1-9

Passing through Cuba’s cities and towns a little more than a century ago, a traveler would have noticed bright new street signs that bore the names of the country’s political and military heroes, for this was a time in Cuba when the mambises (Cuban Liberation Army combatants who fought in the nineteenth-century wars...

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1. Empty Pedestals and Barracks Converted into Schools: The Dismantling of Symbols of Colonial Power

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pp. 10-28

At exactly noon on 1 January 1899, the boom of a cannon rent the air over the esplanade of El Morro, signaling the official lowering of the flag of Spain. According to a witness, “The tearing down of the edifice of secular authority deeply affected both participants and spectators alike.” With this move, the...

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2. Policies Governing Celebrations: Catholic, North American, and Patriotic Fiestas

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pp. 29-64

Over the course of the nineteenth century, in Cuba as in Latin America generally, almanacs, or calendars as they were also called, marked the rhythms of social life by specifying all of the festivals, holidays, and special occasions of the civil and religious year — an array of days for rejoicing, fasting and mourning...

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3. Attempts at Linguistic Colonization and the Struggle to Preserve Spanish: Anglicized Words and Expressions and Their Tropes

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pp. 65-86

The notions of modernization filtering into Cuba from the United States carried with them a small universe of neologisms, whose function was both practical and symbolic: they gave names to experiences for which the old lexicon of colonial Cuba seemed to lack words. Overnight, in urban areas...

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4. The “Decolonization” of Names: National Identity and the Selection of Patriotic Place Names

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pp. 87-99

As if they were palimpsests stretched over immense distances, countries that once were colonial territories still carry with them — like a second layer of skin — signs and traces of names from earlier epochs. During the initial years of conquest, the “virgin lands” of Spanish America were relieved of their aboriginal...

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5. The Socialization of Symbols Representing the Idea of Country

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pp. 100-126

When the armistice between the United States and Spain brought an end to military actions, the sidewalks and plazas of the island’s cities became the scene of a different kind of war — a war of symbolic skirmishes over how civic rights and Cuban national identity should be taken up and publicly expressed within the transitory...

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6. Public Culture and Nationalism

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pp. 127-150

The patriotic demonstrations that constantly occurred during this period opened a privileged space for the public expression of Cubans’ feeling that they constituted and were members of a national community. The diffusion through the press of a symbolic nationalist patrimony was accompanied by its public representation...

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pp. 151-175


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pp. 177-190


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pp. 191-202

E-ISBN-13: 9781469603131
E-ISBN-10: 1469603136
Print-ISBN-13: 9780807833988
Print-ISBN-10: 0807833983

Page Count: 232
Illustrations: 2 line drawings, 1 map
Publication Year: 2011