Based on long-term ethnographic research, this talk draws on three generations of Black women from a low-income family in Santiago de Cuba. Hanna Garth details their household labor to feed the family, paid domestic labor cooking and cleaning in the homes of wealthier white Cubans, and entrepreneurial endeavors, such as raising pigs, and selling prepared food, as ways to generate income. She analyzes this within a broader phenomenon of “luchando la vida” (struggling for life) as Cuban families continue struggle to access food and maintain a decent quality of life as the socialist welfare state continues to falter in post-Soviet Cuba.
ABOUT OUR GUEST SPEAKER:
Hanna Garth (Ph.D. University of California, Los Angeles) is a sociocultural and medical anthropologist. Garth’s scholarship is broadly focused on the ways in which marginalized communities struggle to overcome structural inequalities and prejudice as they attempt to access basic needs. She studies these questions in Latin America and the Caribbean, and among Black and Latinx communities in the United States. Garth has focused on the ways in which the global industrial food system affects food access inequalities. Her first book "Food in Cuba: The Pursuit of a Decent Meal" (Stanford University Press, 2020), is based on ethnographic research in Santiago de Cuba, the island's second largest city. Her research reveals the ways that even food distribution systems, which ostensibly supply sufficient nutritional needs, can also have detrimental effects on individual and community wellbeing.
ABOUT OUR DISCUSSANT:
Rachel Price (B.A., Yale; Ph.D., Duke U.), works on Latin American, circum-Atlantic and particularly Cuban literature and culture. Her essays have examined a range of topics, including media, slavery, poetics, environmental humanities, and visual art. She is currently working on a book-length study of media during the height of slavery and anti-slavery insurgency in nineteenth-century Cuba. Learn more.