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Reading: “Commitment trouble. Gender performances and poetic dissident in the Cuban Revolution”


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Research Article

“Commitment trouble. Gender performances and poetic dissident in the Cuban Revolution”


Amina Damerdji

La Sorbonne Nouvelle, FR
About Amina
I am a Ph.D. student in the field of Cuban Studies. I am close to defending my Doctoral Dissertation entitled “Dogma and dissidence: playful suspicion. The first poets of the Cuban Revolution from Havana to Madrid (1966-2002)”. Combining a theoretical framework and methods borrowed from from literature (genetic editing and text analysis) and from sociology (theories of fields archives, interviews, network analysis) my research aims to to demonstrate how, in the 1960’s, increasing tension between power and the Cuban literary fields created a new political identity in the heteronomic literary field which was sustained throughout the Revolution before finally turning against it. This identity synthesizes the subversive avant-garde tradition with a very institutional commitment, first to the Cuban Communist Party, as the official poets of the Revolution (1966-1970) and then, after the fall of the Berlin Wall, to the Spanish government which financially backed this group of poets as a pilot-fish for their foreign policy in Cuba. A wealth of materials collected in Havana and Madrid (35 interviews, 7 archival collections and 40 poetry books) enabled me to match this original political positioning – which constantly toed the line between dogma and dissidence – with the production of a specific discourse based on permanent doubt sparked in the reader and its powerful consequences on the political field. MAIN PUBLICATIONS AND INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCES: 4 Articles in peer-reviewed Journals 10 Conferences (5 with publication and 5 without publication). Organized 2 International Conferences. 2 Scientific radio broadcasts. 1 Scientific video broadcast. 01/09/2015 – 31/08/2017: Research Fellow of the École des Hautes Études Hispaniques et Ibériques at La Casa de Velázquez (Madrid, Spain).
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The first official poets of the Cuban Revolution founded in 1966, under the patronage of the Cuban Communist Party, a review named The Bearded Caiman. This beard, often maintained in remembrance of combat, had indeed become a revolutionary insignia merging virile identity and political identity. These young, smooth-faced poets thus brandished a discursive beard like they would have displayed a red star. But to what extent did displays of virility equal political displays? How was this “new man”, who political leaders wished for, supposed to articulate gender and commitment? And what meaning should be given to excessive gender performances, bordering on parody, in these poets’ texts? To answer these questions, we must first examine politico-gendered prescriptions weighing on them in particular, as official poets, but also on the whole literary field. We will then consider gender performance in their texts and in their social mise-en-scènes as doubt, deliberately cast over their political commitment. What if the hollow shell was not the gendered subject, but the revolutionary subject?
How to Cite: Damerdji, A., 2018. “Commitment trouble. Gender performances and poetic dissident in the Cuban Revolution” . Latin American Literary Review, 45(90). DOI:
Published on 28 Nov 2018.
Peer Reviewed


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