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By Elise Andaya

After Cuba’s 1959 revolution, the Castro executive sought to instill a brand new social order. Hoping to accomplish a brand new and egalitarian society, the country invested in regulations designed to advertise the wellbeing and fitness of girls and kids. but as soon as the Soviet Union fell and Cuba’s financial problems worsened, those courses started to cave in, with severe effects for Cuban families.

Conceiving Cuba bargains an intimate examine how, with the island’s political and fiscal destiny in query, replica has develop into the topic of heated public debates and agonizing inner most judgements. Drawing from a number of years of first-hand observations and interviews, anthropologist Elise Andaya takes us within Cuba’s families and scientific structures. alongside the way in which, she introduces us to the ladies who strive against with the tough query of whether or not they can find the money for a baby, in addition to the medical professionals who, with purely meager assets at their disposal, fight to stability the desires in their sufferers with the mandates of the state.

Andaya’s groundbreaking study considers not just how socialist rules have profoundly affected the methods Cuban households think the long run, but in addition how the present main issue in copy has deeply stimulated traditional Cubans’ perspectives on socialism and the way forward for the revolution. Casting a sympathetic eye upon a nation, Conceiving Cuba offers new lifestyles to the concept that the private is often political.

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Additional resources for Conceiving Cuba: Reproduction, Women, and the State in Post-Soviet Cuba

Example text

The first came from immersion in the busy ambit of my neighborhood family doctor clinic. Under the welcoming wing of Dr. Janet Torres, the family doctor who first invited me to join her clinic, I observed prenatal and neonatal healthcare consultations twice a week for eight months, and accompanied doctors on home visits and on several overnight emergency shifts at the local polyclinic. These family doctors also introduced me to other medical personnel in their social and professional networks. Through these contacts, I observed: weekly ultrasound consultations; two ultrasound training sessions for doctors about to be sent on international support missions to serve in Venezuela, part of a political and trade alliance with the government of Hugo Chávez; intermittent reproductive health consultations in two other family doctor clinics; and counseling sessions with the neighborhood family psychologist.

Carried by the fervor sweeping the country, thousands of women joined the paid workforce. Others volunteered their time in health efforts, agricultural labor, and political rallies and campaigns. In a dramatic symbol of these changes, some 55,000 young urban women—some as young as twelve or thirteen—joined their male counterparts to live and teach in peasant villages for months at a time during the literacy campaigns of the early 1960s, often in defiance of their family’s wishes. Orthodox socialism held that the full incorporation of women into the workforce was a critical measure of national progress toward a more modern, moral, and egalitarian society.

To the extent possible, I have tried to signal these generational identities not only by including respondents’ ages at the time of the interview, but also in my choice of pseudonyms. As readers familiar with Cuba will be aware, Russianderived names often date their bearers to children born during the strong Soviet influence in the late 1960s and early 1970s, whereas the cohort known as the Y Generation for the striking preponderance of names beginning with the letter Y was born in the later 1970s and 1980s.

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