Book Cover

Racial Experiments in Cuban Literature and Ethnography

Emily A. Maguire

Hardcover: $74.95
Paper: $24.95
Hardcover ISBN 13:Paper ISBN 13:Pubdate: Details:
Add Hardcover To Cart Add Paper To Cart
 
 

“This original study explores the works of four of Cuba’s most renowned intellectuals and the various ways they created and proposed a particular view of Cuban identity.”—Choice  
 
“Maguire’s lucid study enables the reader to consider how early postcolonial writings of Cuban nationhood sought to reconcile the varied diasporic, religious and cultural forces in its history.”—Wasafiri  
 
“An insightful analysis of the interrelationship in Cuba between literature and ethnography in the construction of a discourse on nation.”—Revista de Estudios Hispánicos  
 
“A welcome addition to . . . studies of racial representation in post-independence Cuba.”—e-misférica  
 
“An invaluable guide to the unresolved racial dilemma of constructing a Cuban national narrative.”—Research in African Literatures
 
“An important contribution to U.S.-Caribbean dialogues in the field of Afro-Diasporic literatures and cultures.”—Jossianna Arroyo, author of Travestismos culturales: literature y etnografía en Cuba y Brasil
 
"Maguire's close readings of women ethnographers like Lydia Cabrera and Zora Neale Hurston result in a very original approach to dealing with the topic of race and how it overlaps with the categories of gender. Outstanding work!"--James Pancrazio, author of The Logic of Fetishism: Alejo Carpentier and the Cuban Tradition

"Ingeniously tells the story of the tensions between artist and ethnographer that inform the Cuban national narrative of the twentieth century. Racial Experiments in Cuban Literature and Ethnography is essential reading for a large audience of students and scholars alike within Caribbean, American, and African Diaspora studies."--Jaqueline Loss, author of Cosmopolitanisms and Latin America

In the wake of independence from Spain in 1898, Cuba's intellectual avant-garde struggled to cast their country as a modern nation. They grappled with the challenges presented by the postcolonial situation in general and with the location of blackness within a narrative of Cuban-ness in particular.
 
In this breakthrough study, Emily Maguire examines how a cadre of writers reimagined the nation and re-valorized Afro-Cuban culture through a textual production that incorporated elements of the ethnographic with the literary. Singling out the work of Lydia Cabrera as emblematic of the experimentation with genre that characterized the age, Maguire constructs a series of counterpoints that place Cabrera's work in dialogue with that of her Cuban contemporaries--including Fernando Ortiz, Nicolas Guillen, and Alejo Carpentier. An illuminating final chapter on Cabrera and Zora Neale Hurston widens the scope to contextualize Cuban texts within a hemispheric movement to represent black culture.

Emily A. Maguire is associate professor of Spanish at Northwestern University.
Sample Chapter(s):
Excerpt
Table of Contents

"This original study explores the works of four of Cuba's most renowned intellectuals and the various ways they created and proposed a particular view of Cuban identity. Maguire (Northwestern Univ.) contends that Fernando Ortiz, Lydia Cabrera, Alejo Carpentier, and Nicolis Guillen utilized ethnographic and literary discourses to forge a unique literary space in which to imagine the nation. As a result of Cuba's racial makeup, Cuban intellectuals sought to promote Cuba abroad as both modern and unique. As Maguire shows, "signifying" becomes a racial and national strategy in Cabrera's short fiction and Guillen's poetry. The final chapter goes beyond Cuba to compare Cabrera and Zora Neale Hurston and the ways in which the figure of the ethnographer within their texts becomes a tool for negotiating the power differentials involved in talking about race. The epilogue offers an overview of race and ethnographic literature since 1959."
--CHOICE

Maguire’s Racial Experiments is an invaluable guide to the unresolved racial dilemma of constructing a Cuban national narrative. --
--Research in African Literatures

Carefully places Cabrera’s work in dialogue with key writers in order to situate her Afro-Cubanism in the context of Négritude, the Harlem Renaissance and what Petrine Archer-Shaw has termed ‘Negrophilia’ in Paris. . . .Maguire’s accessible work should bring Cabrera’s writings to wider audiences.--
--Wasafiri

Insightful . . . carefully analyzes the intricate and complex relationships in Cuba between race, ethnography, literature, and gender in a discourse on nation that has suffered and continues to suffer transformations. --
--Revista de estudios Hispanicos

A welcome addition . . . to studies of racial representation in post-independence Cuba. Seamlessly integrating historical contextualization with close readings of influential literary and ethnographic texts, Maguire offers us a nuanced comparative analysis of Cuban “racial experiments” from the early-twentieth century to the first years of the Cuban Revolution. --
--emisférica

Reviews Page

Of Related Interest