90 miles of mirror: Reimagining cultural memory through the case of Cuban-American migrants in Miami

van de Voort, Sjamme (2021) 90 miles of mirror: Reimagining cultural memory through the case of Cuban-American migrants in Miami. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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Abstract

This thesis presents a methodological approach to cultural memory based on theories that place memory in the socio-cultural realm, employing the Cuban-American community in Miami as a case study. The research reveals the broad scope of this theoretical field and presents a methodological apparatus that incorporates the multiplicity of embedded possibilities. By examining theoretical currents underpinning the field, it becomes clear that the notion of space is a crucial theatre in which memory happens, which is why the thesis uses the concept of cartographical reasoning in its instrumentalisation of memory theory.

The case of the Cuban-American community in Miami is particularly suited for this investigation, not only due to the nature of Cuban nationalism – which to a certain extent was forged jointly between Cuba and its diaspora in the United States – but also because of the role that memory has played in Cuba’s political history, especially considering the broad institutionalisation of particular tropes of history. The thesis proceeds through three analytical moments, based on archival research and oral history interviews with Cuban-American migrants in Miami, in which its theoretical considerations unfold into methodology. The first part of the analysis consists of the establishment of the foundational tropes of memory in Cuba, at a time when the interviewees were going through a formative phase of their lives there, through an analysis of educational material institutionalised during the 1970s. What follows is an investigation of how these tropes are operationalised in mass media during the Mariel Crisis – a time in which the Cuban state finds itself in what Walter Benjamin determines as a moment of danger. Finally, the investigation of oral history interviews shows how Cuban-Americans envision their past, present and future based on the narrative emplotment of accounts of history as well as the spatial environment that frames cultural memory.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Kapcia, Antoni M.
Sharman, Adam
Keywords: Memory Studies, Cuban Studies, Cuban-Americans, Migration
Subjects: E History - America > E151 United States (General)
P Language and literature > PQ Romance literatures > PQ6001 Spanish literature
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Arts > School of Modern Languages and Cultures
Item ID: 65888
Depositing User: Van de Voort, Sjamme
Date Deposited: 31 Dec 2021 04:40
Last Modified: 31 Dec 2021 04:40
URI: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/65888

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