Thursday, November 25, 2004

New look through a new book

It’s been awhile since I last wrote anything on this blog. I’ve been getting a bit slack. Anyway, a quick update: last night we had the launch of Richard Gott’s new book, Cuba: A New History, over at Senate House. Over drinks afterwards he claimed that it was to be a short history, but at 600 pages plus, the title had to be ditched. This he followed with a toast to the Cuban revolution, producing all sorts of awkwardness amongst the assembled ranks.

The point of his talk was to highlight aspects of Cuban historiography which hasn’t received much of an airing to date. Most striking was his focus on race relations on the island, much of which is currently being investigated. However, in his overview on the state of historic scholarship he pointed out that almost all of it stops at 1959 – no-one it seems is prepared to write the first draft of the Cuban revolution until Fidel shuffles off the stage.

Which does pose some questions about race since 1959. Given the lack of writing on the period, domestically the Cubans themselves haven’t focused on the subject either. What does exist has generally been the result of black American scholars, but it still remains a peripheral issue.

Given that we have to come up with dissertation titles the week after next, perhaps a student currently undergoing a crisis on what topic to write might consider this as an option?

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