Winner, NECLAS Marissa Navarro Best Book Prize
Since the 19th century, assertions of a common, racially-mixed Cuban identity based on acceptance of African descent have challenged the view of Cubans as racially white. For the past two centuries, these competing views of Cuban racial identity have remained in continuous tension, while Cuban women and men make their own racially oriented choices in family formation. Cuba’s Racial Crucible explores the historical dynamics of Cuban race relations by highlighting the racially selective reproductive practices and genealogical memories associated with family formation. Karen Y. Morrison reads archival, oral-history, and literary sources to demonstrate the ideological centrality and inseparability of "race," "nation," and "family," in definitions of Cuban identity. Morrison analyzes the conditions that supported the social advance and decline of notions of white racial superiority, nationalist projections of racial hybridity, and pride in African descent.