¡Venceremos? The Erotics of Black Self-making in Cuba

         Promoting the revolutionary socialist project of equality and dignity for all,   the slogan ¡Venceremos! (We shall overcome!) appears throughout Cuba,      everywhere from newspapers to school murals to nightclubs. Yet the  accomplishments of the Cuban state are belied by the stark inequalities  apparent in the marginalization of blacks, the prejudice against sexual  minorities, and gender inequities. ¡Venceremos? is a groundbreaking  ethnography on race, desire, and belonging among black Cubans in the early  twenty-first-century, as the nation opens its economy to global capital.  Expanding on Audre Lorde’s vision of embodied, even “useful,” desire, Jafari S.  Allen shows how black Cubans engage in acts of “erotic self-making,”  reinterpreting, transgressing, and potentially transforming racialized and  sexualized interpellations of their identities. He illuminates intimate spaces of  autonomy created by people whose multiply subaltern identities have rendered  them illegible to state functionaries, and to most scholars. In everyday practices,  events, and sites in Havana and Santiago de Cuba—including Santeria rituals,  gay men’s parties, hip hop concerts, the tourist-oriented sex trade, lesbian  organizing, HIV education, and just hanging out—Allen highlights small but significant acts in struggles for autonomy and dignity.

¡Venceremos? Named Finalist for the 2012 Lambda Literary Award for LGBT Studies! http://www.lambdaliterary.org/foundation-updates/03/20/24th-annual-lambda-literary-award-finalists-announced/

Available at independent and online booksellers, and Duke University Press:


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