The Structure of Cuban History
Meanings and Purpose of the Past
Publication Year: 2013
Published by: The University of North Carolina Press
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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
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...chives—the librarians, the bibliographers, the archivists, the Holliday and the staff in the Interlibrary Loan office have been as the staffs of the National Archives in Washington, D.C., the de Literatura y Lingüistica, and her staff facilitated consulta-tion of important serial collections. I received the utmost pro-...
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This book is less a history of Cuba than about the history of Cuba, its course and its contours—and its consequences: about the capacity of the past to shape the character of a people, about the very logic with which historical knowledge insinuated itself into the popular imagination and thereupon acted to induce collective conduct and influence individual behavior. It seeks to understand the relationship between the use of history as a means of national formation, on one hand, and national formation as an outcome of history, on the other. The book examines the ways that knowledge of the past—as a matter of memory and oral tradition, in the ...
1 All This We Prefer
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The war ended in the summer of 1898. Only then was it possible to begin to take in the magnitude of the devastation wrought by Cuban determination to achieve independence: the culmination of nearly fifty years of protracted warfare and intermittent insurrection, marked by recurring cycles of destruction and disruption, decades of political repression alternating with economic depression interspersed with Peace found a people prostrate. The war had been especially cruel in its conduct and frightful in its consequences. Spaniards were ruthless in their defense of colonial rule, and Cubans were relentless in their demand for na-...
2 Intimations of Nationality
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It is not clear precisely when or exactly how the possibility of a separate nationality insinuated itself into domains of popular awareness. Until late in the eighteenth century, vernacular convention favored the use of criollo as the designation of choice to describe native-born residents of the island, as distinct from peninsular, used to denote Spanish-born in-habitants. At some point early into the nineteenth century, usage changed, and the proposition of cubano acquired currency among the native-born resi-dents, that is, at about the same time that the idea of nation seized hold of the criollo imagination, a time too when the difference between the needs of the ...
3 Transformation in Times of Transition
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The nineteenth century was a time of deepening discontent, mostly as an incremental condition, to be sure, but an inexorable one. Vast numbers of Cubans experienced daily life in a state of disquiet, borne principally as a circumstance to which men and women across the island accommodated themselves as a matter of course, conditions so commonplace as to pass for a normal state of affairs, without apparent recourse to remedy and certainly without immediate means of redress. This was discontent as a facet of daily life, discerned—if at all—as one’s lot, often carried as grievance but borne in compliance, in accordance with the conven-...
4 Nation in Waiting
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The republic was inaugurated on May 20, 1902, an occasion celebrated on a grand scale: a national holiday, in fact, given over to acts of pub-lic ceremony and popular revelry. “The greatest day in the history of Cuba,” La Lucha pronounced.1 Cubans across the island surrendered themselves joyfully to public displays of euphoria and elation. Years later, Havana resident Tomás Villoch remembered May 20 as “a day with a splendid blue sky, almost as if God himself had come down to participate in the ceremony,” with street dancing, strolling musicians, and everyone dressed as formally as their means allowed. “There wasn’t a window, a door, a roof, a ...
5 Anticipation of the Past
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...— Jesús Arboleya, “El saber del socialismo y el socialismo than a sense of history. The nationalist “Generation of 23” The past was a presence everywhere: learned at home and taught in the classroom; eulogized in poetry and celebrated in song; drama-tized in film and narrated in fiction; memorialized in the form of monuments and statuary, commemorated on national holidays, and observed on patriotic anniversaries.But this was also a living history. The past persisted as a presence precisely because it had not fully passed—literally. Not that many years had elapsed ...
6 History with a Purpose
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...our history is not an artificial construction but rather the only as fulfilling a special role within the national psyche and the appropriated all its symbols and attributes. This is one of the That the revolution addressed the historical sources of Cuban discon-tent, and indeed offered a plausible remedy to long-standing griev-ances, mattered as an achievement in its own right, of course. But it mattered more as a demonstration of what was possible in a Cuba for Cubans, a vindication of sorts, a source of empowerment: con-firmation of the long-held conviction that the realization of national sover-...
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Publication Year: 2013