#CubanRevolutionSyllabus Introduction

Age of Revolutions

By Michael J. Bustamante

The Cuban Revolution receives as much media and popular attention as any event in Latin American history. Yet as Jennifer Lambe and I argue in a forthcoming essay, the field of Cuban revolutionary history is at once saturated and, paradoxically, “underdeveloped.” Friends, critics, and academic observers of the Cuban “process” have churned out decades’ worth of analyses. Still, fifty-eight years after the barbudos triumphantly entered Havana, our understanding of what actually transpired over the following decades continues to be limited by the vagaries of archival access, a predominant focus on high politics and international relations, and enduring political polarization.

There is little agreement, even, on when the timeline of inquiry should start and end. For supporters, the Cuban Revolution is ongoing and eternal, dating as far back to Cuba’s independence movement in the nineteenth century. For opponents, the Revolution’s hopes proved terminal long ago. 1959, 1961…

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