Conceiving Cuba: Reproduction, Women, and the State in by Elise Andaya

By Elise Andaya

After Cuba’s 1959 revolution, the Castro govt sought to instill a brand new social order. Hoping to accomplish a brand new and egalitarian society, the kingdom invested in regulations designed to advertise the overall healthiness of ladies and youngsters. but as soon as the Soviet Union fell and Cuba’s fiscal problems worsened, those courses started to cave in, with severe effects for Cuban families.

Conceiving Cuba deals an intimate examine how, with the island’s political and financial destiny in query, replica has develop into the topic of heated public debates and agonizing inner most judgements. Drawing from a number of years of first-hand observations and interviews, anthropologist Elise Andaya takes us within Cuba’s families and clinical platforms. alongside the way in which, she introduces us to the ladies who strive against with the tricky query of whether or not they can come up with the money for a toddler, in addition to the medical professionals who, with merely meager assets at their disposal, fight to stability the desires in their sufferers with the mandates of the state.

Andaya’s groundbreaking study considers not just how socialist regulations have profoundly affected the methods Cuban households think the longer term, but additionally how the present difficulty in replica has deeply encouraged traditional Cubans’ perspectives on socialism and the way forward for the revolution. Casting a sympathetic eye upon a afflicted country, Conceiving Cuba provides new existence to the proposal that the private is often political.

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Extra info for Conceiving Cuba: Reproduction, Women, and the State in Post-Soviet Cuba

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Like many poor urban Cubans, her parents lived in a racially mixed neighborhood. When her white mother fell in love with her dark-skinned neighbor, their marriage and subsequent offspring were adamantly rejected by her maternal relatives. Celia’s father, a talented carpenter and craftsman, faced frequent racial discrimination in his search for suitable employment, and eked out a living as an itinerant worker. Her mother, as was common among poorer families of the time, took in laundry as a means to supplement the household income without transgressing domestic boundaries.

Although my interviews led me to neighborhoods throughout Havana, my research was primarily situated in the densely populated, historically more impoverished area of Central Havana. Its reputation for poverty and “undisciplined” or disorderly conduct, like all stereotypes, failed to capture the very mixed composition of the neighborhood, and I found its social and economic diversity an ideal setting for observing the transformations and tensions of the post-Soviet economy. My fieldwork drew on three primary sources of data.

4 Even after the end of Spanish colonialism, these gender, class, and racial ideologies remained very much in place, particularly among the more elite classes. Ursula Blanchett-Muñez, born in the 1930s, recalled her prerevolutionary childhood in a privileged Havana family: 28 CONCEIVING CUBA I came from a very wealthy family. My mother died giving birth to me and I was raised like a princess. I had blonde hair and blue, blue eyes. A little princess! I spent all of my time on our estate or visiting our social circle.

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