Sun, Sex and Socialism

Sun, Sex and Socialism: Cuba in the German Imaginary

JENNIFER RUTH HOSEK
Copyright Date: 2012
Pages: 320
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.3138/j.ctt2tv20z
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  • Book Info
    Sun, Sex and Socialism
    Book Description:

    Through analysis of cultural production that often countered governmental intentions for official diplomacy, Jennifer Ruth Hosek offers a broad-reaching history of the influence of the global South on the global North.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-8692-2
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Figures
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  5. Abbreviations
    (pp. xv-2)
  6. Introduction
    (pp. 3-19)

    Well beyond the multiple ways in which ‘Che lives!’ on,¹ Cuba has infatuated Germans. This study examines Germans’ most important tales of revolutionary Cuba to learn more about these Northern tellers. It builds upon a contested insight: that utopias, dystopias, and partial visions offer particularly trenchant understandings of the social discourses in which they arise and that they shape.² It demonstrates, for instance, that as site of projection and possibility, Cuba furthered inter-German alliances and inspired attempts for change at home. This assessment of utopia builds on the related and variously expressed notion that ‘creative misunderstandings’ about others reveal most...

  7. Chapter One Contesting the New Berlin Republic through Germany’s Cubas
    (pp. 20-54)

    ‘They didn’t know the first thing about socialism, they didn’t know the first thing about the GDR and they didn’t care. They just wanted to go “help the poor Cubans.” It was an adventure for them,’ recalled the Eastern German André about his Western German fellow passengers, with whom he had flown from Düsseldorf to Cuba in 1991.¹

    This comment is particularly intriguing because the Western Germans were on their way to a solidarity brigade, while the Eastern German was on his way to a large beach resort. André identified as a tourist, yet he supported his analysis by presuming...

  8. Chapter Two Extending Solidarian Heimat: Cuba and the 1960s Democratic Republic
    (pp. 55-89)

    By the early 1960s, the German Democratic Republic liberally deployed old concepts to ground its new polity. Defined according to Marxist-Leninism, familiar notions such asVaterland(fatherland) and nation were now understood as originating from and serving citizen workers. Even the traditionally anti-modern, locally focusedHeimat(homeland) was being rehabilitated for this expansive project as early as the mid-1950s.¹ Socialist Heimat was imagined in a dialectical relationship with its inhabitants. Lyrics from a youth-group song emphasize the ties between affective relationship to, duty towards, and common ownership of the homeland: ‘And we love the Heimat, the beautiful, and we protect...

  9. Chapter Three Translating Revolution: Cuba and the 1960s Federal Republic
    (pp. 90-106)

    In the GDR, the government encouraged popular and cultural interest in Cuba. At the same time, GDR texts that feature Cuba show that the interest of GDR citizens in the island exceeded their civic duty. In the Federal Republic, the government discouraged similar attentions. This U.S. political, military, and economic partner generally adhered to the U.S. program of active economic and cultural neglect. FRG citizens who were interested in Cuba were often politically engaged and organized. They aimed to educate themselves about and support what they perceived as Cuba’s new agenda. Their specific engagement with the politics of the island...

  10. Chapter Four Siting Trials: Cuba as Cipher for German Governance around the 1970s
    (pp. 107-145)

    As the FRG and the GDR factionalized internally from the late 1960s, intellectuals explored these tensions through Cuban themes. Events in Cuba that involved individual, collective, and national sovereignty, and governmental form and authority, were of particular interest to Germans confronted with these questions at home. Political violence as expressed in decolonizing efforts in the South and social unrest in the North was an important concern. Yet, Northerners increasingly problematized liberation theories that seemed to them to bear little resemblance to on-the-ground practices. In the FRG, third-world solidarity groups were prime exceptions to a general turn towards putatively domestic issues....

  11. Chapter Five Touring Revolution and Resistance: Tamara Bunke and Che Guevara
    (pp. 146-179)

    In 1961, the German Democratic Republic closed its Western border. In 1962, the Federal Republic of Germany’s first commercial aircraft carrying mass tourists landed on the tropical island of Mallorca.¹ GDR and FRG travel and tourism would remain as radically different as their ongoing projects of post-1945 nation building.

    In 1967, the United Nations inaugurated the Year of International Travel under the slogan ‘Tourism – Passport to Freedom.’² That same year, East German/Argentinean/Cuban Tamara Bunke and Argentinean/Cuban Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara were killed in the Andes jungle by U.S. and Bolivian forces. They were part of an international group whose long-term, international...

  12. Epilogue
    (pp. 180-186)

    Si, se puede! Southerners credit themselves with the legendary exhortation of U.S. President Barack Hussein Obama’s ‘Yes, we can!’ political campaign. When dreaming in Cuban, the capacity of these particular Southerners toarreglar todo(find solutions for every problem and ways around every obstacle) has long increased their global appeal and garnered respect from even their most ardent detractors.

    Cuba in the German Imaginaryhas told one story of the geopolitical and cultural significance of the island. This study about the South’s influence on the North has detailed German projections of Cuba in relation to themselves and their German neighbours....

  13. Afterword: An Opening My German Romance: Writing from Havana
    (pp. 187-192)
    VICTOR FOWLER

    When I was about ten, Cuban television was overloaded with all kinds of productions from the now extinct ‘socialist countries,’ a situation that continued until the beginning of the nineties when the USSR disappeared and the Bloc imploded. It is important to understand the meaning of this to a country like Cuba where a revolution took place in 1959 and the ties to the United States were broken, not only political and economic, but cultural ones too.

    I speak of culture as our window to the world, the common language to approach the other, air circulating through the lungs that...

  14. Notes
    (pp. 193-228)
  15. Works Cited
    (pp. 229-248)
  16. Index
    (pp. 249-266)
  17. Back Matter
    (pp. 267-267)