SEX AND STATE MAKING IN REVOLUTIONARY CUBA, 1959-1968 Public Deposited

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  • March 20, 2019
Creator
  • Hynson, Rachel
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of History
Abstract
  • This dissertation explores the construction of the revolutionary state in order to trace the entwinement of familial health and national security during the first decade of the Cuban revolution. It analyzes campaigns deployed by government officials to remake sexual norms and produce families deemed healthier than those under capitalism. More specifically, my dissertation examines state efforts that normalized patriarchy by criminalizing abortion, legitimized marriage through collective weddings, schematized the workforce by condemning female prostitution, and restructured economic gender roles via the rehabilitation of chulos (loosely translated as kept men). Through close analysis of print media, speeches, travel narratives, and oral histories, my work makes two major contributions to the study of Cuban sexuality. First, by joining prerevolutionary context to an analysis of revolutionary policies, I demonstrate that the sexual behaviors lauded by state officials as new measures of revolutionary well-being were in fact traditional criteria recycled from prior Cuban regimes. Second, I assert that revolutionary leadership of the 1960s attempted to remake the state by challenging popular definitions of terms such as marriage, family planning, sex worker, and chulo. But while laying claim to language seemed to give the government control over patterns of intimacy, it also created space for individuals to exert autonomy by mobilizing language to their benefit. By uncovering the methods by which Cuban leaders constructed the state, my project maps the role of sexuality in the landscape of 1960s Cuba and illuminates connections between sexual and more broadly based sociocultural changes.
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  • In Copyright
Advisor
  • Burns, Kathryn
Degree
  • Doctor of Philosophy
Graduation year
  • 2014
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