Un/exceptional Shadowlands: Space, Memory, and Archives in the Wake of the Cuban Revolution


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships


Spanish and Portuguese


This project interrogates spaces of confinement conceived by the Cuban government to reform wayward citizens. By exploring three case studies—labor camps in Cuba (1965-68), military compounds in Angola (1975-91), and HIV sanatoria on the island (1986-...)—it argues that these “shadowlands”, as the author calls them, succeed one another as concentration sites for the State to exploit subjects under the pretext of reeducation. Through an analysis of oral histories, cultural texts, ethnographic research, and archival sources, “Un/exceptional Shadowlands” examines practices that suppress or resurrect the memories of such places and reconstructs the lives of people who have been enclosed therein. This work elucidates issues of systemic violence, infrastructures of discrimination, archival silences, and historical reconstruction, both transnationally and transhistorically.