Employing Michel Rolph Trouillot's notion of an "unthinkable history," this talk both examines the early history of Afro-Cuban political and revolutionary activity, and explores why such histories are rarely part of a larger historical narrative and public discourse. Situating this pivotal era within larger theoretical discussions of potential, future, visibility and belonging, this talk argues that such revolutionary activity, especially those that revolved around ending slavery, total independence, abolition, and labor, complicated meanings of territoriality, gender, race, and power. Moreover, it argues that Afro-Cuban have a long history of political activism, cultural productions, and diasporic reinventions.
Nancy Raquel Mirabal is Associate Professor of American Studies and the Director of the U.S. Latina/o Studies Program at the University of Maryland. She is author of Suspect Freedoms: The Racial and Sexual Politics of Cubanidad in New York, 1823-1957 (NYU Press, 2017) and a co-editor with Deborah Vargas and Larry LaFountain Stokes, of Keywords in Latina/o Studies (NYU Press, 2018). Her next project examines the politics of archival spaces, dissonant discourses and spatial inquiry.