Cuba in World History

History 100E.001

Spring 2014
Day & Time: 
TuTh 930-11A

This course surveys Cuban history, culture, and politics from the fifteenth century to the present.  We will examine both the outsized role the island has played in world history and the dramatic ways world history has refracted through the island’s turbulent past.  Over this long timespan, Cuba has had relationships of colonial status with Spain, a client role with the United States, and dependency with the Soviet Union.  At the same time, the island has played a critical part in global flows of capital, goods, people, and ideas that have profoundly altered world politics, economics, demographics, and cultures.  How has Cuban history and culture been shaped by its unique position in global geopolitics, at the crossroads of Europe, the Americas, and Africa?  How have inhabitants of Cuba struggled against recurring and ongoing relationships of colonialism and dependency with foreign powers? And finally, how have inhabitants of Cuba defined what it means to be Cuban both because of and in spite of these global forces?  In answering these questions, we will draw on a wide array of texts (historians’ interpretations, contemporary accounts, speeches, literature, art, music, dance, and film) from long before the famous Revolution of 1959 to well after.  Our goal will be to interrogate the broad sweep of Cuba’s past and the ongoing and fiercely contested process of its interpretation.

Course Books

Episodes of the Cuban Revolutionary War, 1956-58 by Ernesto Che Guevara Pathfinder Press. ISBN: 9780873488242 Required
1812 Aponte Rebellion in Cuba and the Struggle Against Atlantic Slavery by Matt D. Childs University of North Carolina Press. ISBN: 9780807857724 Required
The Cuba Reader: History, Culture, Politics by Aviva Chomsky, Barry Carr, and Pamela Maria Smorkaloff Duke University Press. ISBN: 9780822331971 Required
Cuba Between Reform and Revolution by Louis A. Pérez Oxford University Press. ISBN: 9780195392968 Required
Reminiscences of the Cuban Revolutionary War by Ernesto Che Guevara Ocean Press. ISBN: 978-1920888336 Required
The Cuba Reader: History, Culture, Politics by Chomsky, Aviva Duke. ISBN: 0822331977 Required