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A Cuban City, Segregated, A Cuban City, Segregated, 0817320032, 0-8173-2003-2, 978-0-8173-2003-4, 9780817320034, , , A Cuban City, Segregated, 0817392122, 0-8173-9212-2, 978-0-8173-9212-3, 9780817392123,

A Cuban City, Segregated
Race and Urbanization in the Nineteenth Century
Bonnie A. Lucero

Trade Cloth
2019. 288 pp.
28 B&W figures / 12 maps / 10 tables
Price:  $54.95 s
E Book
2019. 288 pp.
28 B&W figures / 12 maps / 10 tables
Price:  $54.95 d

A microhistory of racial segregation in Cienfuegos, a central Cuban port city

Founded as a white colony in 1819, Cienfuegos, Cuba, quickly became  home to people of African descent, both free and enslaved, and later a small community of Chinese and other immigrants. Despite the racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity that defined the city’s population, the  urban landscape was characterized by distinctive racial boundaries,  separating the white city center from the heterogeneous peripheries. A Cuban City, Segregated: Race and Urbanization in the Nineteenth Century explores how the de facto racial segregation was constructed  and perpetuated in a society devoid of explicitly racial laws.

Drawing on the insights of intersectional feminism, Bonnie A. Lucero shows that the key to understanding racial segregation in Cuba is recognizing the often unspoken ways specifically classed notions and practices of gender shaped the historical production of race and  racial inequality. In the context of nineteenth-century Cienfuegos, gender,  race, and class converged in the concept of urban order, a complex and  historically contingent nexus of ideas about the appropriate and desired social hierarchy among urban residents, often embodied spatially in particular relationships to the urban landscape.

As Cienfuegos evolved subtly over time, the internal logic of urban  order was driven by the construction and defense of a legible, developed,  aesthetically pleasing, and, most importantly, white city center. Local authorities produced policies that reduced access to the city center along class and gendered lines, for example, by imposing expensive building codes on centric lands, criminalizing poor peoples’ leisure activities, regulating prostitution, and quashing organized labor. Although none of these policies mentioned race outright, this new scholarship demonstrates that the policies were instrumental in producing and perpetuating the geographic marginality and discursive  erasure of people of color from the historic center of Cienfuegos  during its first century of existence.

Bonnie A. Lucero is an associate professor of History and director of the Center for Latino Studies at the University of Houston-Downtown. She is the author of Revolutionary Masculinity and Racial Inequality: Gendering War and Politics in Cuba and coeditor of Voices of Crime: Constructing and Contesting Social Control in Modern Latin America.

"By deciding to move the discourse on the origin of inequality in Latin American cities away from class analysis to race as its determinative factor, Lucero challenges traditional urban analyses. First, she focuses on Cienfuegos, a secondary center that emerged as an important coastal port servicing the sugar industry, rather than on Havana, the primary city of Cuba. From its inception in the early 19th century, the chartered settlement of Jagua (as Cienfuegos was originally known) was intended to be a white settlement. Second, Lucero offers a series of original maps of the city based on archival research. These show the division of plots and neighborhoods as they evolved over the course of the century and demonstrate conclusively that ownership of the city's prime real estate remained white despite the growth of slave populations and the number of free people of color. Among the methods of exclusion were requirements to meet certain building codes in the center, which few could afford to adhere to. Lucero's writing is crisp, her arguments are convincing, and her chapter conclusions are excellent. She also employs archival photographs to great effect. Highly recommended."

“An insightful and well-researched microhistory of the range of dynamics that shaped race relations, urban order, and sexual labor in Cienfuegos. A Cuban City, Segregated joins an increasingly rich historiography centered on the political and social history—especially with regard to race and gender—of Cuba during the nineteenth century.”
—Tiffany A. Sippial, author of Prostitution, Modernity, and the Making of the Cuban Republic, 1840–1920

”This is an excellent study of the construction of urban order in a nineteenth-century Cuban city and a unique contribution to several bodies of literature in the field, especially Latin American urban history, studies of race and slavery, and Cuban studies.”
—Guadalupe García, author of Beyond the Walled City: Colonial Exclusion in Havana and coeditor of Imprints of Revolution: Visual Representations of Resistance

“The strength of Lucero’s study lies in its careful research, even as aspects of her analytic framework feel slightly shopworn. Lucero relies on the concepts of de jure and de facto segregation to argue that racial integration played a less prominent role in Cuban history than the dominant narratives suggest. As legal historians of race have increasingly noted, however, the distinction between de jure and de facto segregation is more of a political artifice than a social fact. In the United States, for instance, this distinction developed over time to obscure the pervasiveness of segregation and to frustrate legal arguments equating segregation with racial discrimination. Indeed, Lucero’s own use of the terms control and containment resonates far more clearly with the complicated history of exclusion and inclusion in nineteenth-century Cienfuegos than do the terms segregation and integration, with all their attendant twentieth-century meanings. At the center of her study, then, is a sophisticated analysis of the interplay between the development of urban space and racial ideologies that will be of interest to scholars of Cuban and Latin American history as well as urban history more broadly.”
Hispanic American Historical Review

“This is not a book of great theoretical innovation; it is, however, a tour de force of painstakingly researched old-fashioned urban social history. Lucero’s command of local archives is spectacular: she deftly employs baptismal records, probate records (especially of manumissions and land sales), civil and criminal trials, meeting minutes of Afro-Cuban beneficent societies, and more, to document her arguments with all the force of a good prosecuting attorney. Highly recommended for scholars, graduate students, and specialized seminars in race or social history.”
The Americas
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