The Revolution from Within

Cuba, 1959–1980

Book Pages: 344 Illustrations: 21 illustrations Published: March 2019

Caribbean Studies, History > Latin American History, Latin American Studies

What does the Cuban Revolution look like “from within?" This volume proposes that scholars and observers of Cuba have too long looked elsewhere—from the United States to the Soviet Union—to write the island's post-1959 history. Drawing on previously unexamined archives, the contributors explore the dynamics of sociopolitical inclusion and exclusion during the Revolution's first two decades. They foreground the experiences of Cubans of all walks of life, from ordinary citizens and bureaucrats to artists and political leaders, in their interactions with and contributions to the emerging revolutionary state. In essays on agrarian reform, the environment, dance, fashion, and more, contributors enrich our understanding of the period beginning with the utopic mobilizations of the early 1960s and ending with the 1980 Mariel boatlift. In so doing, they offer new perspectives on the Revolution that are fundamentally driven by developments on the island. Bringing together new historical research with comparative and methodological reflections on the challenges of writing about the Revolution, The Revolution from Within highlights the political stakes attached to Cuban history after 1959.

Contributors. Michael J. Bustamante, María A. Cabrera Arús, María del Pilar Díaz Castañón, Ada Ferrer, Alejandro de la Fuente, Reinaldo Funes Monzote, Lillian Guerra, Jennifer L. Lambe, Jorge Macle Cruz, Christabelle Peters, Rafael Rojas, Elizabeth Schwall, Abel Sierra Madero


"The Revolution Within is a groundbreaking collection of essays that is ideal for undergraduates, graduate students, and all scholars of Cuba and Latin American revolutions who are looking for a new and in-depth take on 1959 and its legacies. Its historiographic intervention into using known and little-known sources, decentering the United States, and highlighting continuities over ruptures makes it a must-read for studying Cuba in the twenty-first century." — Devyn Spence Benson, H-LatAm, H-Net Reviews

“A balanced blend of voices from within and beyond the island, together with a proper mix of disciplinary perspectives, makes The Revolution from Within an important early twenty-first-century scholarly demarcation point. This is the state of the art at the moment: the vantage point from which to look back and especially to advance forward.” — Louis A. Pérez Jr., University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

“Moving beyond the black-and-white polemics that have long governed Cuban scholarship, The Revolution from Within considers more ambivalent and ambiguous forms of identification and belonging. Eminently readable, this volume will cause major reverberations within Cuban revolutionary scholarship that will stimulate sustained conversations about how events from the revolutionary period have been experienced and lived outside of canonical national spaces and characters.” — Lauren H. Derby, author of The Dictator’s Seduction: Politics and the Popular Imagination in the Era of Trujillo


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Michael J. Bustamante is Assistant Professor of History at Florida International University.

Jennifer L. Lambe is Assistant Professor of History at Brown University and author of Madhouse: Psychiatry and Politics in Cuban History.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Acknowledgments  ix
Part I. Stakes of the Field
1. Cuba's Revolution from Within: The Politics of Historical Paradigms / Jennifer L. Lambe and Michael J. Bustamante  3
2. The New Text of the Revolution / Rafael Rojas  33
3. Writing the Revolution's History out of Closed Archives? Cuban Archival Law and Access to Information / Jorge Macle Cruz  47
Part II. Case Studies: The Revolution from Within
4. Searching for the Messiah: Staging Revolution in the Sierra Maestra, 1956-1959 / Lillian Guerra  67
5. "We Demand, We Demand . . .": Cuba, 1959: The Paradoxes of Year 1 / María del Pilar Díaz Castañón  95
6. Geotransformación: Geography and Revolution in Cuba from the 1950s to the 1960s / Reinaldo Funes Monzote  117
7. Between Espíritu and Conciencia: Cabaret and Ballet Developments in 1960s Cuba / Elizabeth Schwall  146
8. When the "New Man" Met the "Old Man": Guevara, Nyerere, and the Roots of Latin-Africanism / Christabelle Peters  170
9. The Material Promise of Socialist Modernity: Fashion and Domestic Space in the 1970s / María A. Cabrera Arús  189
10. Anniversary Overload? Memory Fatigue at Cuba's Socialist Apex / Michael J. Bustamante  218
11. "Here, Everyone's Got Huevos, Mister!": Nationalism, Sexuality, and Collective Violence during the Mariel Exodus / Abel Sierra Madero  244
Part III. Concluding Reflections
12. Cuba 1959 / Haiti 1804: On History and Caribbean Revolution / Ada Ferrer  277
13. La Ventolera: Ruptures, Persistence, and the Historiography of the Cuban Revolution / Alejandro de la Fuente  290
14. Whither the Empire? / Jennifer L. Lambe  306
Contributors  319
Index  321
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Paper ISBN: 978-1-4780-0296-3 / Cloth ISBN: 978-1-4780-0170-6
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