Performing Afro-Cuba: Image, Voice, Spectacle in the Making of Race and History

University of Chicago Press
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Visitors to Cuba will notice that Afro-Cuban figures and references are everywhere: in popular music and folklore shows, paintings and dolls of Santería saints in airport shops, and even restaurants with plantation themes. In Performing Afro-Cuba, Kristina Wirtz examines how the animation of Cuba’s colonial past and African heritage through such figures and performances not only reflects but also shapes the Cuban experience of Blackness. She also investigates how this process operates at different spatial and temporal scales—from the immediate present to the imagined past, from the barrio to the socialist state.

Wirtz analyzes a variety of performances and the ways they construct Cuban racial and historical imaginations. She offers a sophisticated view of performance as enacting diverse revolutionary ideals, religious notions, and racial identity politics, and she outlines how these concepts play out in the ongoing institutionalization of folklore as an official, even state-sponsored, category. Employing Bakhtin’s concept of “chronotopes”—the semiotic construction of space-time—she examines the roles of voice, temporality, embodiment, imagery, and memory in the racializing process. The result is a deftly balanced study that marries racial studies, performance studies, anthropology, and semiotics to explore the nature of race as a cultural sign, one that is always in process, always shifting.
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About the author

Kristina Wirtz is associate professor of anthropology at Western Michigan University. She is the author of Ritual, Discourse, and Community in Cuban Santería.
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Additional Information

Publisher
University of Chicago Press
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Published on
Jun 5, 2014
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Pages
344
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ISBN
9780226119199
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Language
English
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Genres
Language Arts & Disciplines / Linguistics / General
Music / Ethnomusicology
Performing Arts / General
Social Science / Anthropology / Cultural & Social
Social Science / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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From the Trade Paperback edition.
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