The Cuban 1970s: The Revolution’s Second Decade from Without and Within
Conference on Latin American History 56
Looking past high politics and macroeconomics, on the one hand, and the struggles of artists on the other, this panel asks what alternative histories of the Cuban 1970s might be written when scholars embrace new scales of analysis from the bottom up and the outside in. Bringing together diplomatic, cultural, and social historical approaches, the papers collectively reveal a decade with more dynamic, unsettled politics than the monolithic character of state discourse would seem to suggest. How did Cuba’s reputation on the international stage shape domestic developments? Did daily, newly unequal consumption practices reflect or conflict with the ways Cuba’s “high socialist” triumph was admired abroad? If Cuba’s global engagements kept the Revolution’s international and, to an extent, domestic historical legitimacy intact, at what point did repetitive exercises in martyrology and museumification at home hint at signs of a political faith fraying at the seams as much as in overwhelming control?
Overshadowed in scholarship by the epic upheavals of Cuba's 1960s, the 1970s, these papers argue, are long overdue for critical reappraisal. As Janus-faced as it is understudied, the Cuban Revolution’s second decade represents a chronological unit worthy of sustained reflection, not just an unhappy interlude that even the island’s own textbooks tend to skip.