Cuba has long fascinated, mystified, and frustrated Americans. Now, in this sweeping work, Louis A. PE rez Jr. transforms the way we view Cuba and its relationships with the United States. Drawing from an enormous range of sources, including archival records, oral interviews, and examples from popular culture, PE rez reveals a powerful web of everyday, bilateral connectionCuba has long fascinated, mystified, and frustrated Americans. Now, in this sweeping work, Louis A. PE rez Jr. transforms the way we view Cuba and its relationships with the United States. Drawing from an enormous range of sources, including archival records, oral interviews, and examples from popular culture, PE rez reveals a powerful web of everyday, bilateral connections between Cuba and the United States. He shows how America's cultural and political forms profoundly influenced Cuba's identity, nationality, and sense of modernity from the early 1850s, when the island was still a Spanish colony, until the revolution that erupted in 1959. In exploring Cuba's encounter with the United States, PE rez articulates the cultural context for that revolution, tracing it to the country's growing dissatisfaction at not having kept pace with America's own rampant prosperity and modernization....
|Title||:||On Becoming Cuban: Identity, Nationality, and Culture|
|Number of Pages||:||383 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
On Becoming Cuban: Identity, Nationality, and Culture Reviews
• Louis Pérez, On Becoming Cuban: Identity, Nationality, and Culture, Chapel Hill: Univ. of North Carolina Press, 1999 [except for pages 125-61, 325-53, 220-42, 399-44, and chapter 7].• Emily Rosenberg, “Consuming Women: Images of Americanization in the “American Century,” Diplomatic History, 23:3 (1999), pp.479-97.Rosenberg’s work exams the creation of gender roles, through consumerism during what Luce declares to be the “American Century”. Americanization is a phenomenon, which occurred through the creation of consumer culture. Women were particularly affected by images in advertisements and popular publications. Shaping the modern woman meant creating the modern woman; she would take on many different forms- housewife, career girl, socialite, but all of these were symbols of modernity. The consumer revolution, which created modalities intended to influence women as the chief purchasers of goods, also created a cult of the new. Understanding the shift from the home as a place of production to one of consumption is essential to understanding the recreation of women’s roles. Rosenberg defines two very important syllogisms of culture in her article—1. America=modernity=consumption=modern women (482). 2. America=modernity=consumption=freedom=modern women (487). Both of these rely heavily on the assumption that is a woman consumes enough new, modern products that she will become the modern woman represented in newly created societal ideals. This idea of the modern woman was not quarantined in America; advertisers took their American iconography to foreign countries in hopes of expanding their markets. Soon American products would represent modernity to nations in Latin America and Europe, exporting with them cultural values and standards of America, creating a gateway for Americanization. As in America conspicuous consumption would become a symbol of status, products would define style and class. The scope of Rosenberg’s argument extends into Cold War era political rhetoric, where issues of capitalism v. communism were socially defined by the ability or desire to spend. Perez’ seminal work On Becoming Cuban, also deals with redefining the image of women through the diffusion of American culture. When dealing with ideas of American culture in the early 20th C. we often think of baseball, jazz, cars, Hollywood and fashion. Perez makes the argument that these icons of Americana were not only important in shaping society in the United States but also in Cuba, where interactions and exchanges with America had become a social tradition. Because of proximity between the two nations, cultural exchange was a part of political interaction. After America acquired Cuba from the Spanish, Cubans set out to define their nationality in opposition to Spain’s; one of the ways of doing this was to adopt the culture and values of America, the seeming polar opposite of their former old world dominators. People began to take to American culture as a way to create new social liberties and reinvent themselves. The lexicology of Cuba changed with exposure to a booming American tourist industry; new words such as sandwich, OK, baseball were introduced. New ideals of beauty, femininity and masculinity were influenced by advertisements made through American companies. Women, who had previously been appreciated for their voluptuousness sought more svelte figures to assimilate into fashion and style trends set by a new cult of the celebrity coming out of the proliferation of movies as a part of middle class life in Cuba. Culture co-develops in America and Cuba, relocation diffusion of norms, values and material culture works so effectively because of the short distance between nations. While America maintains the role of innovator, Cuba takes on the role of primary adaptor in the struggle for recognition as modern. As baseball becomes a Cuban pastime idioms appear in the vernacular, sports culture grows as a symbol of national pride and athletic prowess becomes a defining factor for the macho man in Cuba. Household appliances and other consumer products become defining symbols of the Cuban woman; it becomes fashionable to buy the newest items and to discard older items instead of repairing them because this would imply traditionalism. Modernity was essential in defining Cuban national identity, and American products symbolized that modernity. In addition to material culture, social culture is shared- religion and education become major focuses of American reform movements in Cuba, influencing the value systems of Cubans. This exchange is not just one-way, if Cuban were leaving Cuba as Juan for America and coming back John, Americans were going to Cuba knowing the foxtrot and leaving Cuba dancing the Son. Cuba was shaped more significantly by interactions with America and the long lasting effects can still be seen in their material and social cultures.
a sweeping portrait of cuban national identity (sports, arts, economics, travel, politics) focused on the era of u.s. dominance between the colonial and communist periods. scholarly and, at times, dense, but absolutely packed with historical information. provides an incredible amount of context and illuminates relationships between different facets of nationality over vast stretches of time with relative ease.
I would bet that it could be edited to something shorter than 500 pages of text, but a good book nonetheless. Pérez provides an interesting insight into the Cuban culture and the construction of a Cuban identity in the image of the United States.
If you only want to read one book about Cuban history and identity, this should be the one.