CWS/cf: Cuban Women: Politics, Culture and Revolution 36.3,4 (Fall/Winter 2023)

EXTENDED DEADLINE: August 31, 2023

Guest Editors: Ranu Basu, Brenda Cranney, Azza Rojbi, Vilma Paez, Claudia Peralta, Luna Vicente Ramos

This special double issue of Canadian Woman Studies/les cahiers de la femme (CWS/cf) will focus on the unique role of Cuban women in the revolutionary process, their struggles for rights and emancipation, as well as celebrating their many accomplishments and successes through radical art, culture, and literary works. Cuban women have been involved in revolutionary movements since the early 1800s. Examples of these progressive women include: Carlota Lucumi, Rosa Costellanos, Ana Betancourt, Asela de los Santos Tamayo, Haydée Santamaria Cuadrado, Vilma Espín and Celcia Sanchez.

Writing and art in Cuba are forms of political activism, as seen in pre-revolution writing when many writers were responding to the political situation and their work is shaped by this. Early writers included Gertrudis Gómez de Avellaneda, an abolitionist writer, and Ofelia Domínguez Navarro, a Cuban writer, teacher, lawyer, feminist, and activist. After the abolition of slavery in Cuba in 1886, the focus of Cuban literature shifted to themes of independence, freedom, and social protest. Writers during this period included Úrsula Céspedes, Aurelia Castillo de González, and Ofelia de la Concepción Rodríguez Acosta García.

Fidel Castro described women as “the revolution within the revolution.” After 1959, and the triumph of the revolution, the status of Cuban women improved. Women are well represented in politics and important decision-making bodies, science and technology, art and culture. Official policies resulted in “so-called” formal and legal gender equality. In a patriarchal and machismo society, change can be slow and complicated. Gender inequalities and gender stereotypes are difficult to change. While the status of Cuban women has improved, spurred on with the implementation of the new family code in 2022, women continue to advocate for further change. The rise of feminism and feminist organizations in Cuba reflects this.

Despite facing an illegal economic blockade by U.S. Imperialism for over six decades that has had dire consequences in all sectors of the economy, the resilience of the Cuban people remains steadfast, while their education and health systems are among the best in the world. Since 1959, the new Cuban government and society have struggled to establish a foundation for the country to be sovereign; but the U.S. government blockade and persistent interference and interventions to overturn the Cuban Revolution are constant impediments. These assaults have hit the Cuban people hard, alongside with deterioration of the economy during the 1990s, Special Period. More recently, in 2021, first on July 11 and then in November, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. government and politicians joined with right-wing Cuban exiles to generate a large-scale uprising against the Cuban Revolution. These among many other challenges remain 64 years after the revolution. Within this context: How will women debate the future of the Cuban revolution, its relationship with the political practices of the day, and its possible futures?

Possible topics include but are not limited to:

• literacy campaign
• pre-revolution feminism or history of feminism
• women revolutionaries—not as well known as male counterparts
• race and gender
• ‘machismo’
• racism in Cuban hip-hop music
• struggles of Afro-Cuban women in literature, music, art & film (racism) e.g., Belkis Ayon, Fatima Patterson, Nancy Moregon
• Cuban women of the African diaspora
• gendered impact of poverty
• gendered roles and stereotypes in private and public spheres
• gender violence
• gender constraints in entrepreneurship
• sex tourism, “jineteras,” and prostitution
• health
• environment
• Cuban women in the Canadian diaspora
• LGBTQ+ rights and struggles
• impact of the New Family Code on the everyday lives of women
• women’s participation in solidarity campaigns around the world.

Your ideas for additional topics are welcome.

We invite essays, research reports, true stories, alternative forms of narration, poetry, drawings, and other art works that illuminate these issues.

EXTENDED DEADLINE: August 31, 2023

Articles should be a maximum of 16 pages long (4000 words). If your article uses citations, please follow the format given in MLA 9. A short (50-word) abstract of the article and a brief biographical note should accompany each submission. We give preference to previously unpublished material. If possible, please submit graphics or photographs to accompany your article. Please note CWS/cf reserves the right to edit manuscripts with respect to length and clarity, and in conformity with our house style. To encourage use of the material published, CWS/cf has granted electronic rights to Gale Group, Micromedia Proquest and the H. W. Wilson. Any royalties received will be used by CWS/cf to assist the publication in disseminating its message.

Please email us indicating your intention to submit your work or with any questions.

Canadian Woman Studies/les cahiers de femme
E-mail: cwscf@yorku.ca