Conceiving Cuba: Reproduction, Women, and the State in by Elise Andaya

By Elise Andaya

After Cuba’s 1959 revolution, the Castro govt sought to instill a brand new social order. Hoping to accomplish a brand new and egalitarian society, the kingdom invested in regulations designed to advertise the health of ladies and kids. but as soon as the Soviet Union fell and Cuba’s financial problems worsened, those courses started to cave in, with critical effects for Cuban families.

Conceiving Cuba bargains an intimate examine how, with the island’s political and monetary destiny in query, copy has turn into the topic of heated public debates and agonizing inner most judgements. Drawing from numerous years of first-hand observations and interviews, anthropologist Elise Andaya takes us inside of Cuba’s families and clinical structures. alongside the way in which, she introduces us to the ladies who combat with the tough query of whether or not they can come up with the money for a toddler, in addition to the medical professionals who, with purely meager assets at their disposal, fight to stability the wishes in their sufferers with the mandates of the state.

Andaya’s groundbreaking examine considers not just how socialist rules have profoundly affected the methods Cuban households think the longer term, but in addition how the present difficulty in copy has deeply prompted usual Cubans’ perspectives on socialism and the way forward for the revolution. Casting a sympathetic eye upon a bothered kingdom, Conceiving Cuba provides new existence to the inspiration that the non-public is often political.

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Additional resources for Conceiving Cuba: Reproduction, Women, and the State in Post-Soviet Cuba

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According to this new cosmology, individuals would be valued not according to the highly gendered proscriptions of the prerevolutionary era, but as productive or unproductive members of society. These shifting definitions of value directly undermined established loci of women’s authority. Although women were exempted from the 1971 Anti-Loitering Law that obliged their male counterparts to work, socialist rhetoric clearly elevated women’s labor in the productive sphere over that in the reproductive realm.

It pulled us apart. The state inserted itself into home and family, becoming a constant presence in daily life. Propaganda extolling the virtues of socialism or exhorting citizens to join the latest political mobilizations were omnipresent in billboards, newspapers and magazines, and broadcast media. Representatives of the FMC or the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution (CDR) went door-to-door to press women into participating in revolutionary activities, or to conduct public health campaigns, or ensure that children were attending the appropriate medical consultations as laid out by the latest health policies.

From this fine-grained focus on the intertwining of reproductive politics at the level of gendered bodies, families, and the state, chapters 5 and 6 move outwards again to consider the dilemmas of reproducing families in national and transnational economies. Chapter 5, “Engendered Economies and the Dilemmas of Reproduction,” picks up questions about the connection between women and reproductive labor to explore the gendered contradictions, compromises, and opportunities that have emerged as women and men work to sustain children and households in the new economy.

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