Vodú Chic: Cuba's Haitian Heritage, the Folkloric Imaginary, and the State
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CitationViddal, Grete Tove. 2014. Vodú Chic: Cuba's Haitian Heritage, the Folkloric Imaginary, and the State. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University.
AbstractHundreds of thousands of Haitian agricultural laborers arrived in Cuba to cut cane as the Cuban sugar industry was expanding between the 1910s and the 1930s, and many settled permanently on the island. Historically, Haitian laborers occupied the lowest strata in Cuban society. Until relatively recently, the maintenance of Haitian traditions in Cuba was associated with rural isolation and poverty. Today however, the continuation of Haitian customs is no longer associated with isolation, but exactly the opposite. Cuba's Haitian communities are increasingly linked with cultural institutes, heritage festivals, music promoters, and the tourism industry. In Cuba's socialist economy, "folklore" is a valuable resource that demonstrates the unity of a multi-racial and multi-ethnic nation and attracts tourists. Music, dance, and rituals associated with Vodú have been re-imagined for the public stage. The "folkloric imaginary" creates new careers and opportunities for people of Haitian descent in Cuba. Haitiano-cubanos themselves have found innovative ways to transform the once abject into the now exotic, and are currently gaining a public presence in Cuba through folkloric performance.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:12274510
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