Nationalizing Blackness

Afrocubanismo and Artistic Revolution in Havana, 1920–1940

The first book in many years to analyze in depth the racial issue as the key to Cuba's musical history and heritage. . . . An impressive piece of scholarly research, and a lucid interpretation of facts and documents. It is destined to become a reliable source for specialists in Afro-Caribbean studies.
Leonardo Acosta, musician and author of Música y descolonización and Del tambor al sintetizador
Winner, 1998 Gustave O. Arlt Award in the Humanities

Nationalizing Blackness uses the music of the 1920s and 1930s to examine Cuban society as it begins to embrace Afrocuban culture. Moore examines the public debate over “degenerate Africanisms” associated with comparas or carnival bands; similar controversies associated with son music; the history of blackface theater shows; the rise of afrocubanismo in the context of anti-imperialist nationalism and revolution against Gerardo Machado; the history of cabaret rumba; an overview of poetry, painting, and music inspired by Afrocuban street culture; and reactions of the black Cuban middle classes to afrocubanismo. He has collected numerous illustrations of early twentieth-century performers in Havana, many included in this book.
Nationalizing Blackness represents one of the first politicized studies of twentieth-century culture in Cuba. It demonstrates how music can function as the center of racial and cultural conflict during the formation of a national identity.

about the author

Robin Dale Moore

Robin Moore is an associate professor in the School of Music at the University of Texas at Austin.Ê He has received awards including fellowships from the Rockfeller Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, and the National Humanities Center and is currently editor of the Latin American Music Review. His written work includesÊarticles in theÊCuban Studies, Ethnomusicology , Encuentro de la cultura cubana, and other journals and book anthologies.

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Robin Dale Moore