Current Institutional Affiliation
Assistant Professor, Anthropology, Tulane University

Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 2007
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Anthropology, University of Chicago
Nationalism and the City: Havana and Miami, 1959-1990

This project examines the intricate relationships between Cuban nationalism and the cityscapes of Havana and Miami in the three decades following the Cuban Revolution. In order to understand how the polarized conflict over the Cuban regime has been framed as a conflict between two cities – the “capital of the Revolution” and the “capital of the diaspora” – my project comparatively investigates how the revolutionary state and its supporters have inscribed their nationalistic project in Havana, how powerful groups of the Cuban diaspora have inscribed theirs in Miami, and how this process has constituted not only urban places, but also these nationalistic projects. To accomplish this, I will examine nationalistic practices and objects in both cities, divided into six categories: 1) monuments; 2) museums; 3) visual interventions (like murals, posters, billboards); 4) names of public spaces; 5) civic rituals; and 6) protests and manifestations. I will consider their transformation of the landscape, their relation to the urban environment, the ways in which they symbolically represent and narrate the Cuban nation, their sociological basis and relationship to hegemonic projects in both cities. This will be a multi-sited historical ethnography based on archival research, semi-structured interviews, and symbolic analysis of the urban landscape in both Havana and Miami. I will not only compare these cities, but understand them as part of one single field of conflict, since their nationalists constantly address and refer to each other and play a central role in the construction of each other’s identity. My work will use the Havana and Miami cases to help illuminate the understudied relationship between urban places and nationalism, by critically drawing from and putting into dialogue the interdisciplinary fields of urban studies and nationalism studies.