Los Chinos de Cuba: The National and the Transnational

April 22, 2004 - 4:00 pm

Chinese Presence and the Ascendance of Nationalism in Cuba, 1920s-1930s
Gerardo Renique, The City College of New York, CUNY

Gerardo Renique will discuss preliminary findings of his current project analyzing the role of Chinese communities in the rise of nationalist sentiments and identities in the 1920s and 1930s in Cuba, Mexico and Peru. Renique will talk about the impact of the cultural nationalism and proselytism of Chinese political organizations in Cuba; the reactions of the Cuban state, intellectuals and popular classes; and the interaction of these two developments with the broader debates concerning Cuba’s national sovereignty and identity.

Gerardo Renique is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of History and the Program of Asian Studies at CCNY.

Bridges to China: Chinese Migrants in Twentieth Century Cuba, Transnational Ties, and Ethnic Identity
Kathleen Maria Lopez, University of Michigan

Kathleen Lopez’s presentation examines the diasporic networks and ethnic identities of Chinese Cubans during the twentieth century. The Chinese in Cuba maintained transnational political, economic, and social ties back home and with Chinese communities elsewhere in the Americas. They became involved in homeland political campaigns and business ventures that spanned Cienfuegos, Havana, New York, San Francisco, Hong Kong, and Canton. Chinese politics also entered the Cuban imaginary, most prominently in the form of a discourse on parallels between nationalist leaders Sun Yat-Sen and José Marti. Focusing on individuals, including merchants who maintained families in both China and Cuba, Chinese born in Cuba, and third-generation “mixed” descendants, uncovers experiences that have been obscured by simple (yet often dominant) national and racial categories.

Kathleen Maria Lopez is a Ph.D. candidate at the Department of History, University of Michigan.