Cuban Color in Tourism and La Lucha An Ethnography of Racial Meanings offers a provocative look at what it means to belong in modern socialist Cuba. Drawn from her extensive travels throughout Cuba over the past decade, author L. Kaifa Roland pulls back the curtain on a country that has remained mysterious to Americans since the mid-twentieth century. Through vivid vignettes and firsthand details, Roland exposes the lasting effects of the collapse of the Soviet Union and the subsequent rise of state-sponsored segregated tourism in Cuba. She demonstrates how the creation of separate spheres for locals and tourists has had two effects. First, tourism reestablished the racial apartheid that plagued pre-revolutionary Cuba. Second, it reinforced how the state's desire to maintain a socialist ideology in face of its increasing reliance on capitalist tools is at odds with the day-to-day struggles—or La Lucha—of the Cuban people. Roland uses conversations and anecdotes gleaned from a year of living among locals as a way of delving into these struggles and understanding what constitutes life in Cuba today. In exploring the intersections of race, class, and gender, she gives readers a better understanding of the common issues of status and belonging for tourists and their hosts in Cuba. Cuban Color in Tourism and La Lucha is one of several volumes in the Issues of Globalization: Case Studies in Contemporary Anthropology series, which examines the experiences of individual communities in our contemporary world. Each volume offers a brief and engaging exploration of a particular issue arising from globalization and its cultural, political, and economic effects on certain peoples or groups. Ideal for introductory anthropology courses—and as supplements for a variety of upper-level courses—these texts seamlessly combine portraits of an interconnected and globalized world with narratives that emphasize the agency of their subjects.
L. Kaifa Roland is Assistant Professor in Anthropology at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Her research is in the area of cultural anthropology with specific interests in tourism, national identity, racial and gender constructions, popular cultural practices, and critiques of capitalism. She has conducted extensive field research in Cuba, with a regional focus on the Caribbean and the broader African Diaspora.