Race, Class and Gender: An African Experience in Cuba
Lecture by, Professor Digna Castaņeda Fuertes
University of Habana, Cuba
National Museum of American History, Thursday April 20, 2000
3:00 PM--West Conference Room, 4th Floor--
The African experience in Cuba began with African slavery, which - as in
other Caribbean colonies - illuminates out all aspects of the colonial
system. Likewise, slavery played a pivotal role in the establishment of an
inseparable relationship between race, class and gender.
It is black women then - and their experiences as slaves - who provide the
best example of Cuban colonial society. It is they, who bore the ultimate
brunt of the colonial slave system; as merchandise, as part of the labor
force and as sexual property. Because of this, they, unlike their male
partners, tell us the most Cuban history.
The importance of slave women to Cuban history has not been fully recognized and investigated by Cuban, Caribbean or Latin American scholars. Therefore, their remains much work to be done both theoretically and culturally in this field. Most significantly, without the study of slave women, "gender " as a conceptual category will never be fully evolved. Thus, this work is crucial to the very development of gender studies and our understanding of gender, race and class in the construction of both colonial and modern society; the impact of which continues to be realized today.
My work is an attempt to bring together newly collected and hitherto unknown
data on the lives of specific slave women and to analyze their lives within
and against the context of evolving gender, class and race theories.
Professor Digna Castaņeda Fuertes received her Ph.D. from the University of Havana and the Instituto de America Latina. She teaches History of the Caribbean and Cuba at the University of Havana, Cuba. Dr. Castaneda recently co-edited the book Between Race and Empire: African -Americans and Cubans before the Cuban Revolution (Temple University Press, 1998). The book and essays look at the relationship between African Americans and Afro-Cubans from the abolitionist era to the Cuban Revolution of 1959.
Please plan on attending this interesting and thoughtful look at the roles and relationship of slave women in Cuba.
Call 357-3180 or 786-9057 for more information.
Sponsored by NMAH, Division of Cultural History and The Center for Latino Initiatives.
L. Stephen Velasquez
Museum Specialist/Collections Manager, Teodoro Vidal Collection
Division of Cultural History
National Museum of American History
Washington, DC 20560-0616
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