Revolution within the Revolution
Women and Gender Politics in Cuba, 1952-1962
University in North Carolina Press 2015
New Books in Caribbean StudiesNew Books in Gender StudiesNew Books in HistoryNew Books in Latin American StudiesNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & Society February 3, 2016 Christy Thornton
This episode features Michelle Chase, who joins us to discuss her fascinating new book, Revolution Within the Revolution: Women and Gender Politics in Cuba, 1952-1962 (University of North Carolina Press, 2015). The book is a rich and nuanced history of women’s participation in the movements of resistance that began in the immediate aftermath of Fulgencio Batista’s coup d’etat in 1952—resistance that culminated in the overthrow of Batista in the Cuban revolution of 1959. Eschewing both official top-down narratives of women’s liberation as well as anti-communist accounts of women’s cooptation, Revolution Within the Revolution demonstrates that women’s activism and leadership was critical at every stage of the revolutionary process. It also centers urban activism in the years leading up to the Cuban Revolution, and reveals how focusing on the city changes our understanding of how the Revolution evolved and triumphed. What’s more, the book is also a history of how notions of gender roles in Cuba at midcentury—questions of marriage and family, of masculinity and femininity—were both defined by and came to define the revolutionary moment, dialectically shaping the strategy of both revolutionaries and counter-revolutionaries, men and women alike.
Michelle Chase is an Assistant Professor of History at Bloomfield College, where she teaches courses on Latin American and Caribbean History and World History. You can follow her on Twitter at @michaymicha.