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Possible republics : tracing the 'entanglements' of race and nation in Afro-Latina/o Caribbean thought and activism, 1870-1930

  • Author(s): Fusté, José I.
  • Fusté, José I.
  • et al.

This dissertations challenges how critical scholarship on race and racism in Latin America has traditionally understood racial subalterns in Cuba and Puerto Rico as people who are prevented from acting as black political subjects because of the hegemonic power of discourses of nationhood premised on ideas of mestizaje and racial fraternity. By providing an intellectual history of several important yet largely ignored Cuban and Puerto Rican activists intellectuals of color who lived and worked between the Caribbean and the U.S. at the turn of the 20th century, I show that instead of being tricked by creole elite national narratives, they attempted to redefine ideas of nationhood to challenge racism, colonialism, and imperialism at local, national, and transnational levels. More specifically, through an examination of the essays, newspaper articles, personal correspondence, and literary works they left behind, I look at the complicated ways in which figures such as Rafael Serra, Tomás Carrión-Maduro, and Luis Felipe Dessus attempted to reconcile a politics of anti-racism within the nation with a politics of nationalism that rallied racial subalterns to stand up to colonialism and imperialism. I also look examine how these figures negotiated how they saw themselves in relation to the pan- Africanisms and Latin American pan-nationalisms of their era while critiquing how these projects concealed the internal hierarchies of power within and between the national communities they comprised. Overall, this intellectual history maps the terrain of entwined racial, class, and national politics in the thought and activism of a largely forgotten yet profoundly influential set of racial subaltern, Hispanic Caribbean intellectuals at a key moment in the making of their respective nation-states

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