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Cultural Erotics in Cuban America

Ricardo L. Ortíz
Copyright Date: 2007
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 328
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5749/j.ctttt6d5
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    Cultural Erotics in Cuban America
    Book Description:

    Looking beyond South Florida, Ricardo L. Ortíz addresses the question of Cuban-American diaspora and cultural identity by exploring the practices of smaller communities in such U.S. cities as Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York. Highlighting various forms of cultural expression, Cultural Erotics in Cuban America traces underrepresented communities's responses to the threat of cultural disappearance in a hegemonic U.S. culture._x000B_

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-9840-0
    Subjects: Sociology
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Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents (pp. v-vi)
  3. Preface: Cuban America in Cuban English (pp. vii-xx)
  4. Introduction: Diaspora and Disappearance (pp. 1-40)

    My favorite joking remark to make whenever anyone invokes the idea of a “Cuban diaspora” is to say that it’s hard to have a diaspora when most of the parties scattered after and since the 1959 Castro revolution have recollected (themselves) in Miami. But I’m usually of two minds, actually, when I make this remark: in one I acknowledge to myself that even my own life history, as a Cuban-born, California-bred and -educated immigrant American with significant emotional and experiential ties to Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay area, Paris, New England, New York City, and Washington, D.C., belies my...

  5. Part I. Bodies of, Bodies in Evidence
    • Chapter 1 Pleasure’s Exile: Reinaldo Arenas’s Last Writing (pp. 43-61)

      Outside prevailing constructions of nationality organized around the native and the immigrant, there is the exile. To the extent that Cuban American and Cuban-exile writing of the last generation can be said to have fashioned a voice for itself in the larger contexts of mainstream- and immigrant-American literature, it has nevertheless retained in its own internalized dialectic a profoundly imbedded tendency toward self-marginalization and self-alienation. This is nowhere more apparent than in the body of work produced by Reinaldo Arenas in the decade of exile he spent in the United States between his expulsion from Cuba in the 1980 Mariel...

    • Chapter 2 Docile Bodies, Volatile Texts: Cuban-Exile Prison Writing (pp. 62-90)

      In the oddly twisted dynamics of U.S.–Cuban cultural and political debate(s), especially those arising in the post–Cold War Special Period in Cuba, alternative sexualities and the cultural practices connoted by them came to displace more direct political discussions about the future of the diasporic dissemiNation,² also (and still today) called Cuba, but increasingly without any easy correspondence to any one place, or nation, or state. Perhaps the most prominent example of this decade-old debate accompanied the wide distribution and success (in 1994–95 and in the United States) of Cuban director Tomás Gutiérrez Alea’sStrawberry and Chocolate(1993),...

    • Chapter 3 Revolution’s Other Histories: Legacies of Roberto Fernández Retamar’s “Caliban” (pp. 91-118)

      Brad Epps’s epigraph concludes a passage of his exhaustive study of Cuban revolutionary sexual politics, a passage that specifically analyses statements issued by the Cuban government in the course of the revolution’s first decade on the topic of the so-called proper role of artists, writers, and intellectuals in a revolutionary culture. Those statements range chronologically from Fidel Castro’s “Words to Intellectuals,” issued in 1961, to the Declaration issued after Cuba’s First National Congress on Education and Culture in 1971. In both statements, Epps argues, one can read a creeping but nonetheless virulent homophobia in the symptomatic rhetorical conflation of the...

  6. Part II. From Exile to Diaspora
    • Chapter 4 Hemispheric Vertigo: Cuba, Québec, and Our (New) America (pp. 121-133)

      “Pleasure” would almost always be my response to the question, “And what is your purpose in visiting Montréal?” posed to me by Canadian border guards whenever I crossed into Québec from Vermont, at the checkpoint where U.S. Interstate 89 became the much smaller Canadian rural highway 133. Having left the San Francisco Bay Area in 1996 to take a teaching job at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, I spent the following two years rather unsuccessfully trying to adjust to life in a remote New England town; part of that process entailed frequent visits to more cosmopolitan nearby settings, especially Montréal,...

    • Chapter 5 Café, Culpa, and Capital: Nostalgic Addictions of Cuban Exile (pp. 134-155)

      David Rieff opensThe Exile, his 1993 study of “Cuba in the Heart of Miami,” with a chapter that combines an archetypal formulation of the expectation of a general return with anecdotal details of specific recent voyages back to Cuba on the part of various Cuban exiles.¹ In many ways Rieff ’s work inThe Exiledemands this precarious balance between archetypal and anecdotal treatments; the archetypal especially asserts itself in the qualities Cuban exiles share with traditional patterns of exile inscribed, for example, in the historical books of the Old Testament. To the extent that Cubans in exile persist...

    • Chapter 6 Beyond All Cuban Counterpoints: Eduardo Machado’s Floating Island Plays (pp. 156-190)

      Although Eduardo Machado’s four-play cycle of Cuban and Cuban-exile histories,Floating Islands, was published by the Theatre Communications Group in 1991, it did not receive its first major West Coast production, at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles, until three years later; and in the course of those years both Machado’s plays and the national and diasporic histories they evoke underwent major revision.³ Of the four plays, the one that bore the most revision was the third,Fabiola. The four pieces together recount the story of three connected, extended, and eventually dispersed bourgeois Havana families, the Ripolls, the Hernándezes,...

  7. Part III. Some Cuban/American Futures
    • Chapter 7 Careers of Surplus Value in the Novels of Cristina García (pp. 193-228)

      What follows here is a series of close readings, in the chronological order of their publication, of Cuban American novelist Cristina García’s first three novels. The discussion is meant in part to trace the contours of what we can loosely term the “political unconscious” working in and evolving through those three texts. Of course I mean for the phrase “political unconscious” to invoke the work of Fredric Jameson, especially as it demonstrates the manner in which the (re)production of especially novelistic narrative form (rather than content) contributes in complexly structural ways to the elaboration (critical and complicit) of ideologies responsive...

    • Chapter 8 Sounding the Body Politic: Sono-Grammatics in Rafael Campo’s Sonnet Corpus (pp. 229-269)

      In the last chapter of 2002’sCuba Confidentialentitled “The Old Man and the Little Boy,” Ann Louise Bardach describes what she calls “the largest march in Cuban history,” which occurred on July 26, 2000, both to commemorate one of the most important anniversaries in the revolution’s calendar but also to celebrate the safe return (in June of the same year) of Elián González into the custody of his father and of his country of birth. The march, Bardach observes, proceeded down Havana’s legendary Malecón and “past the new statue of José Martí clutching a young boy,” a statue that...

  8. Conclusion: On Our American Ground (pp. 270-276)

    My frequent half-joking response to the question, “What do you think will happen with Cuba once Fidel Castro dies?” was for a long time, “Nothing . . . compared to what’s likely to happen when Celia Cruz dies.” Then, of course, she did die, in the summer of 2003, and for all the understandable grief with which Cubans, other Latinos, and salsa lovers everywhere very publicly mourned her, nothing (at least nothing political) came of her passing after a long and valiant battle against cancer. The half-serious side of my remark, of course, had to do with the fact that...

  9. Notes (pp. 277-320)
  10. Bibliography (pp. 321-330)
  11. Index (pp. 331-338)
  12. Back Matter (pp. 339-339)