HAR is pleased to announce the latest release from BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology. This is an article by Kali Argyriadis and Maud Laëthier, presenting the research theme they co-direct for BEROSE about anthropologies and nation-building in Haiti and Cuba (1930-1990). The article is published in three languages: English, Spanish, and French.
Laëthier, Maud & Kali Argyriadis, 2020. “Anthropologies and Nation-building in Cuba and Haiti (1930-1990),” in BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology, Paris.
This article sketches the outlines of a comparative history of social and cultural anthropology in Cuba and Haiti. It examines the role played by the discipline in the construction of the national cultural identities of both countries, and the peculiar interweaving of anthropological thought and political discourse. With a focus on the period from the 1930s to the 1970s, Kali Argyriadis and Maud Laëthier shed light on a complex circulation of people and ideas both within and beyond the Caribbean through transnational networks and artistic movements that claimed to be anti-imperialist, socialist, or communist. They highlight the role played by iconic figures such as Fernando Ortiz, Jean-Price Mars or Jacques Roumain in reshaping the concept of race and exploring a new national imagination. The meaning of being Haitian or Cuban was not necessarily a matter of racial dignity so much as of cultural authenticity, and the debates in question had an international impact to the point of affecting the notion of ‘Otherness’ in the United States and Europe.