A study of Cuban culture and media in the twenty-first century as both a global phenomenon and a local reality, at a time when the declared death of socialism coexists in tension with emerging anticapitalist movements worldwide.
Why does Cuban socialism endure as an object of international political desire, while images of capitalist markets consume Cuba’s national imagination? This bold new study argues that Cuba’s changing media cultures are key to our understanding of the global postsocialist condition and its competing political imaginaries.
Portable Postsocialisms calls on a vast multimedia archive to offer a groundbreaking cultural interpretation of Cuban postsocialism. Paloma Duong examines songs, artworks, advertisements, memes, literature, jokes, and networks that refuse exceptionalist and exoticizing visions of Cuba. Expanding postsocialist critical theory to read this complex mediascape, Duong argues that a materialist critique of Cuba’s revolutionary legacy must account for Cubans’ everyday demands for agency and self-representation. This long overdue reassessment of Cuba’s place in Latin American and post-Marxist studies shows Cuban postsocialism to be an urgent and indispensable referent for core debates on the politics of participatory cultures in new media studies. Portable Postsocialisms performs the crucial task of redefining how we envision imaginaries of social change in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Introduction: What Is the Postsocialist Condition?
Chapter 1. Cuban Travels: Hatuey in Ethiopia
Chapter 2. Portable Pachanga
Chapter 3. Postsocialismos de Bolsillo: Women and Fashion in Secondhand Time
Chapter 4. Cuban Screen Cultures
Conclusion: Cuban Mediascapes after the End of History
Paloma Duong is an associate professor of Latin American and studies in the Comparative Media Studies/Writing Program at MIT.