Acoustic Properties: Radio, Narrative, and the New Neighborhood of the Americas discovers the prehistory of wireless culture. It examines both the coevolution of radio and the novel in Argentina, Cuba, and the United States from the early 1930s to the late 1960s, and the various populist political climates in which the emerging medium of radio became the chosen means to produce the voice of the people.
Based on original archival research in Buenos Aires, Havana, Paris, and the United States, the book develops a literary media theory that understands sound as a transmedial phenomenon and radio as a transnational medium. Analyzing the construction of new social and political relations in the wake of the United States’ 1930s Good Neighbor Policy, Acoustic Properties challenges standard narratives of hemispheric influence through new readings of Richard Wright’s cinematic work in Argentina, Severo Sarduy’s radio plays in France, and novels by John Dos Passos, Manuel Puig, Raymond Chandler, and Carson McCullers. Alongside these writers, the book also explores Che Guevara and Fidel Castro’s Radio Rebelde, FDR’s fireside chats, Félix Caignet’s invention of the radionovela in Cuba, Evita Perón’s populist melodramas in Argentina, Orson Welles’s experimental New Deal radio, Cuban and U.S. “radio wars,” and the 1960s African American activist Robert F. Williams’s proto–black power Radio Free Dixie.
From the doldrums of the Great Depression to the tumult of the Cuban Revolution, Acoustic Properties illuminates how novelists in the radio age converted writing into a practice of listening, transforming realism as they struggled to channel and shape popular power.
Focused on the intimate effects of large-scale economic transformations, After Love illuminates the ways that everyday efforts to imagine, resist, and enact market reforms shape sexual desires and subjectivities. Anthropologist Noelle M. Stout arrived in Havana in 2002 to study the widely publicized emergence of gay tolerance in Cuba but discovered that the sex trade was dominating everyday discussions among gays, lesbians, and travestis. Largely eradicated after the Revolution, sex work, including same-sex prostitution, exploded in Havana when the island was opened to foreign tourism in the early 1990s. The booming sex trade led to unprecedented encounters between Cuban gays and lesbians, and straight male sex workers and foreign tourists. As many gay Cuban men in their thirties and forties abandoned relationships with other gay men in favor of intimacies with straight male sex workers, these bonds complicated ideas about "true love" for queer Cubans at large. From openly homophobic hustlers having sex with urban gays for room and board, to lesbians disparaging sex workers but initiating relationships with foreign men for money, to gay tourists espousing communist rhetoric while handing out Calvin Klein bikini briefs, the shifting economic terrain raised fundamental questions about the boundaries between labor and love in late-socialist Cuba.
The Archives of Cuba/Los archivos de Cuba is the first comprehensive guide to the archival holdings and manuscript collections located throughout the fourteen provinces of Cuba, and each is identified with its local address. The collections hold a vast assortment of research materials from the sixteenth through the twentieth centuries. Records encompass family papers, government documents, parish collections, notary records, corporate papers, archives of private associations, personal collections, and much more. Sites listed include the Archivo Nacional, the Biblioteca Nacional José Martí, provincial archives, municipal archives and museums, parish archives, cemetery archives, and many others. The volume also provides a general descriptive inventory of each archival holding and manuscript collection. It is an indispensable reference tool for anyone conducting research on Cuban history or culture.
Louis A. Pérez examines the founding of the national army in Cuba, the rise and fall of Cuban army preeminence during the Machado regime, the bizarre army seizure of power in 1933, which resulted in the collapse of the officer corps, and follows the dominance of the army until the revolution of 1958. He shows that the Cuban political order rested on the stability of the army, which itself grew increasingly estranged from national traditions and eventually became the tool of a clique of political leaders, only to fall to rebel forces during the revolution.
Arsenio Rodríguez was one of the most important Cuban musicians of the twentieth century. In this first scholarly study, ethnomusicologist David F. García examines Rodríguez's life, including the conjunto musical combo he led and the highly influential son montuno style of music he created in the 1940s. García recounts Rodríguez's battle for recognition at the height of "mambo mania" in New York City and the significance of his music in the development of salsa. With firsthand accounts from relatives and fellow musicians, Arsenio Rodríguez and the Transnational Flows of Latin Popular Music follows Rodríguez's fortunes on several continents, speculating on why he never enjoyed wide commercial success despite the importance of his music. García focuses on the roles that race, identity, and politics played in shaping Rodríguez's music and the trajectory of his musical career. His transnational perspective has important implications for Latin American and popular music studies.
Art and Archaeology of Pre-Columbian Cuba presents a number of works, sixteen reproduced in color, by pre-Columbian artists from the archipelago, covering three millennia of human life in Cuba.
Living under difficult conditions, the first Cubans sculpted their emotions, fears, and hopes on stone, shell, wood, and bones. Much of their art has not previously been available either within or outside of the Caribbean. Ramon Dacal Moure and Manuel Rivero de la Calle describe and interpret the two kinds of prehistoric art found on the island: that of original settlers, the Ciboneys, and that of the Tainos, who had largely replaced the Ciboneys by the time of Columbus.
More than one hundred photographs culled for Cuban museums and collections reveal the superb artistry of the Ciboney and Taino cultures. Idols and amulets carved of stone, coral, and wood; shell masks; stone axes; petroglyphs and pictographs are among the art works never before seen outside of Cuba.
Art and Archaeology of Pre-Columbian Cuba is the first report of archaeological findings in Cuba since 1959 and the first synthesis of Cuban prehistoric art and archaeology since Mark Harrington’s Cuba Before Columbus, published in 1921. Since 1959, Cuban archaeologists have been isolated from research being carried out on other islands in the region, just as other scientists have been unable to work on Cuba or communicate easily with their Cuban colleagues.
While popular interest in and scholarly knowledge of prehistoric art and archaeology have grown in recent years, the Caribbean has been neglected, and Cuba especially. Through Art and Archaeology of Pre-Columbian Cuba, archaeologists and other professionals as well as general readers will come to admire and respect the talent visible in these examples of aboriginal art.