Revolutionary Teachers: Women and Gender in the Cuban Literacy Campaign of 1961 Public Deposited

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  • March 20, 2019
  • Halbert-Brooks, Ann Elizabeth
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of History
  • The Literacy Campaign of 1961 brought the literacy rate in Cuba from 77 to 96 percent, an increase of nearly one million people, in just twelve months. While this achievement is notable, the Literacy Campaign also proposed a new ideal of womanhood in the wake of the 1959 revolution. Before the revolution, 80 percent of all teachers in Cuba were women and the profession was regarded as a low-status one. The publicity for the 1961 Literacy Campaign, however, presented teaching as heroic, patriotic, and difficult work, frequently drawing on metaphors of warfare and struggle for intellectual empowerment to energize the public. This message was presented in virtually every media outlet--newspapers, magazines, television, movies, and radio--on a daily basis. The women who taught in the Literacy Campaign used this rhetoric to claim greater freedom and responsibility for themselves, even when the reaction of the general public was more ambivalent.
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  • In Copyright
  • Pérez, Louis A.
  • Master of Arts
Graduation year
  • 2013

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