Cuba: A Global Studies Handbook

Cuba: A Global Studies Handbook

Cuba: A Global Studies Handbook

Cuba: A Global Studies Handbook

Synopsis

CUBA: A GLOBAL STUDIES HANDBOOK offers a revealing look at a nation that, in its ongoing pursuit of freedom, has been a colonial pawn, a neocolonial paradise for corrupt politicians and dictators, an alluring vacation destination, a defiant Communist holdout and embarrassing thorn in the side of the powerful United States. Drawing heavily on his own research and experiences on the island, the author follows Cuba's political, economic, and sociocultural development from the pre-Columbian period to the present with an emphasis on the revolutionary period. The book's reference section includes alphabetically organized entries on important people, places, and historical events, as well as shorter sections on Cuban Spanish, national traditions and holidays, cuisines, and important organizations. Also featured is a chart tracing the development of Cuban popular music and a listener's guide to some of the best available recordings.

Excerpt

In a world in which borders are blurring and cultures are blending at a dizzying pace, becoming more globally aware and knowledgeable is imperative. This is especially true regarding one’s immediate neighbors, where the links are most intense and most profound. For this pragmatic reason, knowing more about Latin America is especially relevant to people living in the United States.

Beyond such a practical consideration, Latin America is a fascinating region of the world on its own terms, and it is worth the time and energy to get to know the region better simply as a matter of intellectual curiosity. By providing a readable and engaging introduction to a representative selection of the region’s countries, this series hopes to engage readers and nurture their curiosity in the region and its peoples.

One point that this series will make abundantly clear is that Latin America is not a homogeneous region. For example, its population is remarkably diverse. Indigenous peoples are spread throughout the region, constituting the majority of the population in countries where the largest of the region’s magnificent pre-Colombian civilizations were centered. Descendants of the Iberian European colonizers continue to dominate the region’s political and economic landscape, though recently arrived immigrant populations from Europe and Asia have made significant inroads into the economic, political, and cultural aspects of these countries. The Atlantic slave trade network brought hundreds of thousands of Africans to Latin America to labor in the plantation economy. The African cultural legacy is particularly relevant to modern Brazil and the Gulf-Caribbean countries. And the process of racial mixture, or miscegenation, that occurred freely and consistently over the past 500 years of the region’s . . .

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