Creando Cubanos: Cuban Educational Systems in the 19th and 20th Centuries

AHA Session 299
Conference on Latin American History 68
Sunday, January 7, 2018: 11:00 AM-12:30 PM
Maryland Suite A (Marriott Wardman Park, Lobby Level)
Louis A. Perez, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Andrew J. Kirkendall, Texas A&M University

Session Abstract

Throughout Cuba’s history, schools have been central to the development of notions of cubanía. This panel will explore Cuban educational systems to trace how the development of Cuban national identity has been intertwined with issues of imperialism, race, class, and gender. The papers in the panel will span the colonial period to the Revolutionary era. Members of the panel will examine how nineteenth-century Spanish colonial officials and Creoles used educational policy to articulate concepts of race—ideas and policies that were contested by people of color themselves. The papers will also explore how the clashes of nationalist sentiment and neo-imperial rule of the twentieth century played out in the schools. When the United States military government (1898-1902) overhauled the public school system, North America ideas of modernity, race, and gender had to be negotiated with local elites as well as the subalterns. In the early Republican period, the teaching of Cuban history in public schools was at the fore of debates about nationalist identity. Lastly, the panel will turn its attention to the Cuban Revolution’s intervention in education, exploring the multiple strands of political and social thought that drove these reforms. Throughout, the papers will pay close attention to the transnational aspects of Cuban schooling, which stemmed from the island’s imperial history as well as from the intellectual exchange among white and black pedagogues across the world.
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