The Cuban Diaspora and the Question of Nostalgia

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Date

2017

Authors

Tuma, Virginia Camila

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Hardt, Michael

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Abstract

The Cuban Diaspora and the Question of Nostalgia explores the dominant nostalgic politics of memory prevalent in post-Revolutionary Cuban-American cultural production. Since the triumph of the Cuban Revolution in 1959, the question of longing has weighed heavily on the hearts and minds of Cuban and Cuban-American exiles and immigrants living in the United States. Drawing on theories of nostalgia, literary criticism, and postmodern theory, this study argues that there exists an alternative narrative to the discourse of nostalgia in Cuban-American texts. Offering readings of works by five prominent Cuban-American authors, all born in Havana between 1949 and 1958 and who emigrated to the United States in the early 1960s, I begin my dissertation by interpreting the autobiographies of Carlos Eire and Gustavo Pérez Firmat as exemplary of Cuban-American nostalgic reconstructions of Havana; I then offer a reading of Achy Obejas’s early corpus as a critique of the nostalgia paradigm that nonetheless reveals its enduring power and the impossibility of reaching into the past other than through commodities and simulacra; finally, I delineate alternative discourses of memory that allow for a radical rethinking of the nostalgic impasse present in Cuban-American cultural production in the works of Cristina García and Alina Troyano.

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Tuma, Virginia Camila (2017). The Cuban Diaspora and the Question of Nostalgia. Dissertation, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/14428.

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