This collection of research from Cuba scholars explores key conflicts, episodes, currents, and tensions that helped shape Cuba as a modern, independent nation.

Cuba in the nineteenth century was characterized by social struggle. Slavery, Spanish colonial rule, and racial tension permeated every corner of Cuban life—from urban dwelling to house of charity, from sugarcane field to tobacco vega, from seaport to railway—and furnished a lively spectacle for the privileged foreigner gazing upon Cuba from afar. Chapters discuss topics including slavery, gendered forced labor, indentured labor, agricultural economics, industrial development, newspaper and print culture, and the origins of the "Cuba Threat." The volume links key aspects of Cuba’s history, such as social conflict and economic underdevelopment, to present a detailed analysis of Cuban civil society in the 1800s.

Social Struggle and Civil Society in Nineteenth Century Cuba appeals to general readers and scholars in a range of disciplines, including history, women’s studies, economics, architectural preservation, media studies, and literature.

chapter |8 pages


chapter 3|21 pages

A Racial Economy of Care

Incarceration, Labor Extraction, and Charity in Cuba's Nineteenth-Century Slave Society

chapter 4|25 pages

Breaking Chains

Resistance, Freedom, and the End of Chinese Indentured Labor in Cuba

chapter 7|25 pages

Bullfights, Cockfights, and Other Evils

Origins of the “Cuba Threat” in U.S. Travel Literature