Lydia Cabrera and the Construction of an Afro-Cuban Cultural Identity (Envisioning Cuba)


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Reward Yourself

That year I had the opportunity to read with pleasureand no deadlinesthe short stories of Lydia Cabrera, as well as a lot of postcolonial theory and cultural studies. I was able to chat freely about my ideas with many friends, including Dr. Simon Halliday.

Does Cuba Breathe from Trinidad or Havana?

I want to thank him for the long hours of conversations on post- colonialism and globalization. After I came back from Scot- land, I received much support from my colleagues and professors at Emory University, where this Acknowledgments book incubated as a dissertation. I want to thank the members of my dissertation committee for the good remarks that I was able to incor- porate here. I am especially grateful to my adviser, Carlos J. Alonso, for his insights, criticisms, comments, and suggestions.

Just when I would think I had everything figured out, everything done, he would open another Pandoras box that would take me back to my desk. He is still there when I need him. I will always be indebted to him. At the beginning, this project was also deepened as a result of my conversa- tions with Marzena Grzegorczyk, for which I thank her. The Internationalization Dissertation Research Grant at Emory University provided the initial research support that took me to Cuba for the first time, a dream I had always held deeply.

I was not aware of what this trip might reveal. The pains and difficulties are still in my memory. However, I would never have understood Cabrera with- out getting to know the culture about which she wrote, without smelling the sweat, and sweating myself, to the rhythm of the drums during a Toque de tambor. And, as someone once wrote, Cuba is ad- dictive. I have been there many times since then, and every time I find it harder to leave.

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I want to express my gratitude to all the people in the island who helped my research by feeding me, guiding me, lend- ing me books, and serving as informants. But among all the good people I encountered, I particularly want to thank Doa Henrietta Price at the Fundacin Fernando Ortiz, for her advice and connec- tions; Lisia Prieto at the Biblioteca Nacional Jos Mart, who led the way into the never-ending bibliography; and, more recently, Marcelo Fajardo, for taking me everywhere, even into a camello bus ride.

I also thank Natalia Bolvar for taking time out of her busy schedule to see me. Thanks to Santero Eugenio Cols Ramos for all the information and to Jos Millet for standing next to me when I didnt understand what was going on. My dear colleague and friend Justin Crumbaugh is responsible for the translation of the Spanish draft of my dissertation into the En- glish version that I then reviewed and turned into this manuscript.

His prose became part of my prose. I simply cannot express how much I owe him. Acknowledgmentsx Friends and colleagues who read different versions of the manu- script at different stages provided me many key insights; they have helped me develop a better work. Brent Plate. Nstor and Sylvia Figueroa have always been there for me, as have other now long-distance friends.

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Visiting Trinidad is Like Stepping Back in History!

This book was four years in the making, and life does not stop; many things have happened. I am grateful to my colleagues at the University of Vermont and, more recently, to those at Texas Christian University for their generosity and encouragement. Texas Christian University also supported this project by making me the recipient of the Research and Creative Activities Grant, which allowed for an- other important trip to Havana.

Thank you to Elaine Maisner, my editor, for her hard work and support for this project, as well as to Louis A. Production staff members at the University of North Carolina Press have been enor- mously helpful. My appreciation also goes to my friend Tracy Bran- denburg for helping me acquire the images for the book, and to Mara Estorino at the Cuban Heritage Collection, University of Miami. I am the kind of person who leaves her favorite bite of food for the end in order to keep the best taste and sensation lasting longer.

This book is dedicated to my parents, Miriam Mangual Matos and Euge- nio Rodrguez Surez, two extraordinary human beings who have taught me important lessons hard to find in books. I am very fortu- nate to have them in my life. My familyall of them, including my uncle Damin and Naomiis an important and constant presence; family members all took care of me at many levels when I thought I Acknowledgments xi was not going to make it.

My siblings, Carlos and Wanda, have been a source of inspiration and motivation; I look forward to growing older with them.

Mariela A Gutierrez - Lydia Cabrera la autora y la afrocubania de su universo narrativo

Finally, I want to let my life-companion, S. Brent Plate, know in print that he means the world to me. His daily hug is what keeps me grounded. Brent, thank you for holding my hand when I got scared and for being the editor of my life.

Afro-Cuban religious experience

Friedrich Nietzsche, The Will to Power Introduction This page intentionally left blank Lisandra Otero quite rightly states, Cuba is a small country destinedto play a role out of proportion for its size Fornet Introduction 3 Social scientific approaches to Cuban cultural and national iden- tity since the late nineteenth century have predominantly understood white Creoles to constitute Cuban identity.

Within this framework, Afro-Cubans have been studied, but only from the presupposition that they are other to the social-symbolic order maintained by white Creoles. Yet, to talk about cubanaCuban culture and identity, or Cubannessone must remain open to the ethnic complexities and pluralities that exist on the island.


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Ethnically speaking, Cuba is made up of Europeans, Africans, indigenous peoples, Asians, and others, who have lived together and mixed together to varying de- grees. Cuban culture, as many writers have noted, is a deeply hybrid- ized one. However, the ethnic-cultural complexities of Cuba have not been manifested in the rhetorical writings of many intellectuals pre- suming to take an objective view of culture in Cuba.

Simplistic ren- derings of white and black are not adequate to Cuban cultural analy- sis. But then again, how is the story of someone else told without appropriating them into their own framework? How does one do ethnography when the tools of ethnography are created by and for a particular ethnic group? Framing Cabreras Journey These cultural complexities underlie my investigation into the works of Lydia Cabrera. She was a creative writer who sought to retell the history of Cuba and its culture through imaginative means, thereby questioning the empirical truth of anthropology.

Yet, she also wrote ethnographies, and her fiction is supposedly based on the oral sto- ries she heard from Afro-Cubans. I particularly focus on the blurry line she invokes between fact and fiction, between anthropology and literature. This volume probes the reasons why her books are con- sidered to be the bible of Afro-Cuban folklore and religion. In the end, I argue that her writings offer an alternative discourse to the standard, homogenous interpretations of Cuban identity.

Seller List. Other Sellers. The Time commitment. Free customs procedures. Diversified payment, flexible. Free delivery. Free delivery in Phnom Penh. Safe shopping. With Fado Afro-Cuban Tales. Publication date September 29, Language English. Product Dimensions 8. Shipping Weight 8. Book length ISBN Best Sellers Rank Mariela A.

Gutierrez, University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada " This literary study of Cuban folklorist and intellectual Lydia Cabrera shows how Cabrera's work reinserted the story of marginalized Afro-Cubans into the broader understanding of Cuban national identity. View more. Customer care. Full name:. Retype password:.


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Lydia Cabrera and the Construction of an Afro-Cuban Cultural Identity (Envisioning Cuba) Lydia Cabrera and the Construction of an Afro-Cuban Cultural Identity (Envisioning Cuba)
Lydia Cabrera and the Construction of an Afro-Cuban Cultural Identity (Envisioning Cuba) Lydia Cabrera and the Construction of an Afro-Cuban Cultural Identity (Envisioning Cuba)
Lydia Cabrera and the Construction of an Afro-Cuban Cultural Identity (Envisioning Cuba) Lydia Cabrera and the Construction of an Afro-Cuban Cultural Identity (Envisioning Cuba)
Lydia Cabrera and the Construction of an Afro-Cuban Cultural Identity (Envisioning Cuba) Lydia Cabrera and the Construction of an Afro-Cuban Cultural Identity (Envisioning Cuba)
Lydia Cabrera and the Construction of an Afro-Cuban Cultural Identity (Envisioning Cuba) Lydia Cabrera and the Construction of an Afro-Cuban Cultural Identity (Envisioning Cuba)
Lydia Cabrera and the Construction of an Afro-Cuban Cultural Identity (Envisioning Cuba) Lydia Cabrera and the Construction of an Afro-Cuban Cultural Identity (Envisioning Cuba)

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