History, Historiography, and Cuban Studies: A Retrospective
Some general observations are perhaps appropriate on the subject of historiography in the larger context of Cuban studies.1 First, and most immediately, after thirty years, it is clear that the field of Cuban studies, like the Cuban revolution itself, is undergoing a rectification process of its own. The signs are everywhere visible. We have gradually shed the onerous--and most inelegant--term Cubanology. Rectification is also to be seen in the inclusion of history.
It has not always been so. Lest the significance of the change pass unnoticed and unappreciated, and as a way to introduce the discussion of historiography, it would perhaps be useful to review briefly these developments in a larger context.
Almost from the outset, Cuban studies--Cubanology--proceeded from the central but never fully explicit assumption that the study of Cuba was, in fact, principally the study of the Cuban revolution. It has never been quite clear where, or how, or indeed if at all, history fit into the scheme of Cuban studies. It was thus possible for Andrew Zimbalist to review the "scholarship on Cuba" and speak of "the evolution of Cubanology in the United States" without once mentioning historians of Cuba2--and for José Luis Rodríguez to describe the various "ideological currents" of Cubanology without commenting at all about historiography3--and for Nelson P. Valdés to describe Cubanologists specifically as "the body of the professionals who dissect, describe, and explain the Cuban Revolution."4 This perception is further reinforced