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Embracing Transculturalism and Footnoting Islam in Accounts of Arab Migration to Cuba

Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, E; (2016) Embracing Transculturalism and Footnoting Islam in Accounts of Arab Migration to Cuba. Interventions: International Journal of Postcolonial Studies , 18 (1) pp. 19-42. 10.1080/1369801X.2014.998257. Green open access

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Abstract

This essay traces the development of Cuban analyses of Arab migration to the island from the 1500s to the present. It examines whether there is a specifically ‘Cuban’ school of ‘migration studies’, analysing the nature and implications of Ortiz's concept of transculturation underpinning the postcolonial development of ‘Cuban national identity’. It further argues that, despite official Cuban claims regarding post-revolutionary racial equality, Arab migration has not only been historically and politically marginalized in accounts of the development of ‘Cuban identity’, including in Ortiz's own work, but diverse ‘waves’ of Arab migration to the island have been characterized by what I refer to, following Derrida, as the accumulative ‘footnoting of Islam’. In conclusion, I argue that Muslim Arab immigration prior to the Cuban Revolution has been entirely overshadowed by a systematic focus on Christian Arabs, in effect leading to the category ‘Arab’ being practically synonymous with ‘Christian’ or ‘Maronite’, with wide-ranging implications for our understanding of Cuba's academic and political discourses regarding national identity in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

Type: Article
Title: Embracing Transculturalism and Footnoting Islam in Accounts of Arab Migration to Cuba
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1080/1369801X.2014.998257
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/1369801X.2014.998257
Language: English
Additional information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Interventions: International Journal of Postcolonial Studies on 02/01/16, available online: http://wwww.tandfonline.com/10.1080/1369801X.2014.998257.
Keywords: migration, Muslims, national identity, Ortiz, Fernando, religion, transculturation
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Geography
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1460772
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