Current Institutional Affiliation
Lecturer, Cultural Studies, University of The West Indies

Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 2002
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Liberal Arts, Emory University
Re-Configuring Cubanidad: The Politics of Haitian-Cuban Performance at the Intersection of Nationalism and Tourism in Santiago De Cuba

The proposed research will explore the socio-historical transformations that prompted the inclusion of previously denigrated Haitian culture within the concept of cubanidad. I will trace the emerging role of Haitian-Cubans in formulations of cubanidad through documentary sources and interviews with government officials and performers. The study will use performance analysis and participant-based ethnographic research to examine the effects of this increased visibility on the culture, sense of identity, and performances of Haitian-Cubans in and around Santiago de Cuba. Additionally, I propose to examine how Haitian-Cubans have responded to state-based alterations to their status and role in contemporary Cuba. Although there has been attention to the ways cultural performance has been implicated in nation building projects, fewer works focus on the interwoven dynamics of cultural performance and tourism and its implications for reformulating regional, national and cultural identities. Moreover, while scholarship on the contributions of Afro­Cuban cultural traditions to the construction of Cuba's revolutionary national identity has burgeoned no study examines how Cuba's Afro-Caribbean populations interpret and participate in nationalist ideologies. This research will thus broaden our understanding of how the complex circuits of cultural production and the re-configuration of cubanidad relate to the constructions of Haitian-Cuban identity across local and tourist performances, social contexts and political/public discourses that shift over time.