Year of Publication

2012

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

College

Arts and Sciences

Department

Hispanic Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Susan Carvalho

Abstract

The goal of this project is to investigate the way in which various representations of Fidel Castro, between the years 1957-1965, have left an indelible mark on Cuba, transforming its landscape, I argue, through gendered means and conscious strategies. Thus it is less concerned with Fidel as an historical person than with examining with a gendered lens the ways in which he has been represented in foundational photographs, interviews, songs, and texts (both narrative and poetry as well as blogs). Drawing from theories of masculinity, which conceive masculinity as both a social construction and material body, my dissertation explores the ways in which these representations make visible a gendered body, mapping definitions of masculinity on Fidel, which are intimately linked to power. These constructions of Fidel’s masculinity, which are portrayed as hegemonic and a legitimating feature of patriarchal control, are a central feature of Fidel’s political authority and the Revolution’s hegemonizing project to shape Revolutionary men and women. I argue that representations of Fidel frequently invite a gendered encounter between the Comandante and his followers, resulting in the production of gendered Revolutionary subjects. The present study adds to current scholarship by shedding light on the ways in which gender foregrounds politics by problematizing the ways in which men are often at the center of political discourse. By decoding the foundations of Fidel’s “gendered” power, we find it to be a construction whose maintenance depends on the body’s ability to conform to hegemonic definitions of masculinity, thus reinforcing rather than Revolutionizing masculine paradigms of authority.

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