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Racial Experiments in Cuban Literature and Ethnography$
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Emily A. Maguire

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780813037479

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813037479.001.0001

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A Folklore for the Future:

A Folklore for the Future:

Race and National Narrative in Cuba

(p.1) Introduction A Folklore for the Future:
Racial Experiments in Cuban Literature and Ethnography

Emily A. Maguire

University Press of Florida

This chapter outlines the challenges facing Cuba's construction of itself as a modern nation in the wake of its independence from Spain. To address Cuba's postcolonial condition (including the existence of racial others), Cuban writers borrowed freely from both ethnographic and literary conventions to create texts that could mediate the distance between Cuba's lived reality and the nation these intellectuals were engaged in reimagining. As the chapter chronicles Cuban race relations up to and following independence, it traces the representation of blackness in literature of the period. It also outlines the development of ethnography and examines the conditions that influenced the creation of a literature with an “ethnographic spirit,” designed to harness and at the same time neutralize cultural blackness on the island in order to identify Cuba as a modern nation.

Keywords:   race, Cuba, ethnography, Cuban literature, blackness, nation

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