Race and Reproduction in Cuba

Title Details

Pages: 410

Illustrations: 11 b&w images

Trim size: 6.000in x 9.000in



Pub Date: 11/01/2022

ISBN: 9-780-8203-6277-9

List Price: $44.95


Pub Date: 11/01/2022

ISBN: 9-780-8203-6276-2

List Price: $114.95

Race and Reproduction in Cuba

How women’s reproductive lives remained at the very center of population politics in Cuba

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  • Description
  • Reviews

Women’s reproduction, including conception, pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, and other physical acts of motherhood (as well as the rejection of those roles), played a critical role in the evolution and management of Cuba’s population. While existing scholarship has approached Cuba’s demographic history through the lens of migration, both forced and voluntary, Race and Reproduction in Cuba challenges this male-normative perspective by centering women in the first book-length history of reproduction in Cuba.

Bonnie A. Lucero traces women’s reproductive lives, as well as key medical, legal, and institutional interventions influencing them, over four centuries. Her study begins in the early colonial period with the emergence of the island’s first charitable institutions dedicated to relieving poor women and abandoned white infants. The book’s centerpiece is the long nineteenth century, when elite interventions in women’s reproduction hinged not only on race but also legal status. It ends in 1965 when Cuba’s nascent revolutionary government shifted away from enforcing antiabortion laws that had historically targeted impoverished women of color.

Questioning how elite demographic desires—specifically white population growth and nonwhite population management—shaped women’s reproduction, Lucero argues that elite men, including judges, physicians, philanthropists, and public officials, intervened in women’s reproductive lives in racially specific ways. Lucero examines how white supremacy shaped tangible differences in the treatment of women and their infants across racial lines and outlines how those reproductive outcomes were crucial in sustaining racial hierarchies through moments of tremendous political, economic, and social change.

This is an excellent piece of scholarship. Lucero insightfully interweaves three key, topics—fertility control, the demographics of slavery, and racial attitudes—across a broad expanse of Cuban history. . . . It is the first full-length treatment of a subject that is generating increasing interest in both the context of Latin American history and within the broader lens of world history.

—Nora E. Jaffary, author of Reproduction and Its Discontents in Mexico

About the Author/Editor

BONNIE A. LUCERO is the Neville G. Penrose Chair in History and Latin American Studies at Texas Christian University. She is the author of Revolutionary Masculinity and Racial Inequality and A Cuban City, Segregated. She lives in Fort Worth, Texas.