Event Title

La Batalla De Ideas Continua: The Revolutionary Writings of Jose Martí

Faculty Advisor

Molly Robey

Graduation Year

2020

Location

Room E104, Center for Natural Sciences, Illinois Wesleyan University

Start Date

13-4-2019 10:00 AM

End Date

13-4-2019 11:00 AM

Description

A larger-than-life founding figure essential to Cubans’ national identity, 19th century writer and revolutionary Jose Martí has come to occupy an enormous space in the Cuban cultural consciousness. Many contemporary scholars note, however, that the ruling communist government’s propagandistic depictions of Martí as an absolute opponent of American society and imperialism—a “national hero” whose ideological legacy coincides perfectly with the leftist values of the midcentury Cuban Revolution—are ultimately reductive, simplifying what is otherwise a dense and complicated worldview. At the same time, this tendency of modern scholarship to distance Marti’s legacy from that of Fidel Castro and the Revolution has had the similarly misleading effect of suggesting that Martí’s body of work is not only ideologically distinct from, but actually opposed to, the values of the Communist Party of Cuba. It is my contention that Martí’s writings exist as part of the same ideological progression that inspired the Cuban Revolution of the 1950s, though the writer’s anti-American, anti-imperialist, anti-capitalist messaging is much less straightforward than the revolutionary government has claimed.

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Apr 13th, 10:00 AM Apr 13th, 11:00 AM

La Batalla De Ideas Continua: The Revolutionary Writings of Jose Martí

Room E104, Center for Natural Sciences, Illinois Wesleyan University

A larger-than-life founding figure essential to Cubans’ national identity, 19th century writer and revolutionary Jose Martí has come to occupy an enormous space in the Cuban cultural consciousness. Many contemporary scholars note, however, that the ruling communist government’s propagandistic depictions of Martí as an absolute opponent of American society and imperialism—a “national hero” whose ideological legacy coincides perfectly with the leftist values of the midcentury Cuban Revolution—are ultimately reductive, simplifying what is otherwise a dense and complicated worldview. At the same time, this tendency of modern scholarship to distance Marti’s legacy from that of Fidel Castro and the Revolution has had the similarly misleading effect of suggesting that Martí’s body of work is not only ideologically distinct from, but actually opposed to, the values of the Communist Party of Cuba. It is my contention that Martí’s writings exist as part of the same ideological progression that inspired the Cuban Revolution of the 1950s, though the writer’s anti-American, anti-imperialist, anti-capitalist messaging is much less straightforward than the revolutionary government has claimed.