Loyalties and Identities in Unequal Imperial Landscapes: American-Spanish-Cuban Relations, c. 1890s–1950s

Solicited by the Society for Historians of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era (SHGAPE)

Saturday, April 4, 2020, 1:00 PM - 2:30 PM

Type: Paper Session

Tags: Nationalism and Transnationalism; Race; Social and Cultural

Abstract

This panel examines how individuals revised and redefined their loyalties and identities in Cuba during an era of imperial transfers. During this time period, the creation of national and imperial ethe influenced how individuals understood themselves and others as they negotiated the unequal landscapes they inhabited.

Each paper in this panel addresses how individuals were altered by their imperial encounters during a period in which Cuba transitioned from Spanish colony, to U.S. overseas possession, to independent nation under the supervision of the United States. Common to all three papers are historical figures who shifted their loyalties between regional, national, or imperial groups, as they actively negotiated their identities and searched for equality in an unequal world. Understanding the nuances of these circumstances complicates the historiography of American-Spanish-Cuban relations and provides scholars with a more contextualized understanding of both how and why groups of individuals defined themselves during this complex period.

The first paper by Gregg French analyzes how trans-imperial identities can be adapted to fit the imperial landscapes of the metropole and the periphery. French contends that despite being at war with the Spanish Empire in 1898, many U.S. military officers and colonial administrators disregarded their Cuban allies and developed a sense of comradery with their imperial counterparts; an act that had been previously facilitated by the use of the Spanish past as the foundation of the American historical identity in the metropole of the U.S. Empire. The second paper by Lisa Jarvinen explores how Cuban General Calixto García’s loyalties were frequently questioned and tested as Cuba’s status as a sovereign nation was being decided. Ultimately, Jarvinen argues that national loyalties were impossible commitments to maintain when placed in a fluid imperial context. The final paper by Michael Neagle explores the experiences of U.S. citizens who lived on Cuba’s Isle of Pines in the decades following the Spanish-American War. Initially, these citizens rejected local cultures and claimed superiority over the native pineros. However, by the middle portion of the twentieth century, Americans on the island had redefined their identities and had formed bonds with their fellow islanders, which contrasted with the diplomatic tensions between the two countries following the Cuban Revolution.

Collectively, the panel presents how a diverse range of individuals continuously adapted to their surroundings as they attempted to define their loyalties and identities during a period of imperial flux in Cuba. Often lost in the turbulent era between the Spanish-American War and the Cuban Revolution, these papers focus on the lives of individuals who were in search of a level of sameness with those who surrounded them. David Sartorius will serve as chair and provide commentary on the panel.

Papers Presented

Navigating Equal Sovereignty: General Calixto García and the Cuban Nation-to-Be

This paper examines the controversies surrounding Cuban general Calixto García’s choices during the War of 1898 from the moment the United States decided to enter the conflict over Cuba through to García’s death in Washington, D.C. García would ultimately be claimed as a hero for a narrative of Cuban nationalism; however, his loyalties were frequently questioned and tested as Cuba’s status as a sovereign nation was being decided first on the battlefield and then among diplomats and politicians. The paper first takes up the moment when García chose to collaborate with the United States on its plans to invade from eastern Cuba. Given that this decision had not been authorized by the provisional Cuban government in exile, García’s choice and its impact would become a matter of controversy in Cuba. The paper then turns to the moment, months later, when García would break with the U.S. military when he resigned his command to protest the exclusion of the Cuban troops during the victory parade through Santiago de Cuba. For this he would later be lauded by Cuban nationalists. Finally, it takes up García’s dismissal as head of the army in Oriente by Cuba’s provisional government and his subsequent appointment as a civilian member of a commission to negotiate for Cuba’s recognition by the United States. These incidents inform the paper’s argument that national loyalties were impossible commitments in a situation where political power worked according to the logic of imperialism and Cuba remained a “nation-to-be”.

Presented By
Lisa Jarvinen, La Salle University

Becoming Pinero: How Americans Went from Colonizer to Neighbor on Cuba’s Isle of Pines

Following the War of 1898, thousands of U.S. citizens bought land on Cuba’s Isle of Pines thinking it a spoil of war from Spain. Americans who migrated to the island, located approximately 40 miles off mainland Cuba’s southwest coast, did not see themselves as expatriates but rather entrepreneurs and frontiersmen carrying the flag. Over more than two decades, they Americanized the isle by developing an export-oriented economy (primarily in citrus), creating schools, churches, and social clubs, and ushering in American goods, language, and currency. Pointedly, these settlers rejected local customs and maintained distance from native pineros, save for their utility as hired help. Considerations of race, class, and national identity all shaped the approaches of U.S. settlers, who saw themselves as distinctively and unquestionably American. In 1925 the U.S. Senate ratified the Hay-Quesada Treaty, a 21-year-old agreement between the U.S. and Cuban governments that affirmed Cuba’s sovereignty on the isle. By that point, the American community—which may have had as many as 2,000 residents by the mid-1910s—was in decline and most U.S. citizens returned north. By midcentury, a new influx of U.S. citizens arrived. They were enticed by the Cuban government looking to spur tourism. Some were looking for affordable winter homes. Others came to teach or missionize. Absent the zeal for annexation, U.S. citizens fraternized with their island neighbors, which included not only Cubans but other foreign nationals. By the time of the Cuban Revolution, which triggered the exodus of U.S. citizens from the isle, many Americans came to see themselves as pineros, too. While no one renounced U.S. citizenship, these Americans came to embrace a spirit of pinerismo that sharply contrasted with the diplomatic tensions between the two countries following the revolution’s triumph.

Presented By
Michael E. Neagle, Nichols College

Imperial Comradery in the Periphery of Empire: American-Spanish Relations on the Island of Cuba, 1898–1909

In the decades leading up to the Spanish-American War, members of the Cuba Libre movement petitioned members of the U.S. Congress and yellow press to sway public opinion in favor of Cuban independence. With President William McKinley’s declaration of war in April of 1898, many members of the movement believed that they had found a loyal ally in the United States. However, they failed to realize that many influential Americans had developed a loyalty to Spain and an imperial conceptualization of stability that superseded the movement’s call for independence. Additionally, many U.S. military officers and colonial administrators who initially believed that they had been sent to Cuba to establish Cuban independence developed a sense of comradery between themselves and their imperial counterparts, which continued to relegate the Cuban people to the position of colonized subject. This paper examines how U.S. military officers and colonial administrators perceived the Cubans and the Spaniards who they encountered on Cuba during the Spanish-American War and the subsequent military occupation of the island. Although many Americans initially admitted to being influenced by the yellow press, their perceptions changed once the fighting was underway. Immediately, U.S. personnel began drawing racial, military, and imperial similarities between themselves and Spanish troops. Once the war came to an end, U.S. military officers and colonial administrators continued to profess a sense of comradery with their imperial counterparts, which had initially developed in the metropole of the American Empire and was now being employed in the imperial periphery.

Presented By
Gregg Michael French, Saint Mary's University of Minnesota

Session Participants

Chair and Commentator: David A. Sartorius, University of Maryland, College Park
DAVID SARTORIUS

Department of History
University of Maryland
2115 Francis Scott Key Hall
College Park, MD 20742
das@umd.edu


EMPLOYMENT

Associate Professor of History, University of Maryland, 2014-

Assistant Professor of History, University of Maryland, 2007-2014

Assistant Professor of History, Whittier College, 2003-2007


EDUCATION

Ph.D. in History, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2003

M.A. in History, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1997

B.A. in History and Art History (minor in Political Science), cum laude, Trinity University, 1995


PUBLICATIONS

Ever Faithful: Race, Loyalty, and the Ends of Empire in Spanish Cuba. Durham: Duke University Press, 2013.

“Colonial Transfusions: Cuban Bodies and Spanish Loyalty in the Nineteenth Century.” In The
Cultural Politics of Blood, 1500-1900. Eds. Ralph Bauer, Carla L. Peterson, Zita Nunes, and Kimberly Coles. New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2015: 229-250.


RECENT CONFERENCE PRESENTATIONS

“Unsettled States: Race and Purity in Cuba’s Last Indian Pueblos,” Hall Center for the Humanities Colonialism Seminar, University of Kansas, September 2017.

“Mobility and Magic: Spiritual Movements in Colonial Cuba.” La Patrona Collective for Colonial Latin American Scholarship Rome Archival Practicum, Rome, July 2017.


RESEARCH FUNDING

Semester Research and Scholarship Award, University of Maryland, 2016 (for Spring 2017).

University of Maryland Designated Research Initiative Fund for “Cuba: Questioning Discourses of Normalization” conference, 2017.

NEH Summer Seminar for College and University Faculty, “Bridging North American Borderlands,” Newberry Library, Chicago, 2014.

Post-Doctoral Fellowship, Latin American Studies Center, University of Maryland, Spring 2006

Presenter: Gregg Michael French, Saint Mary's University of Minnesota
GREGG FRENCH

E-mail: gregg.french@acadiau.ca
Phone: +1 (519) 902-8453
Department of History and Classics
Acadia University
10 Highland Avenue
Wolfville, Nova Scotia, Canada B4P 2R6

EDUCATION

2017 Ph.D., History
University of Western Ontario
Dissertation: The Foundations of Empire Building: Spain’s Legacy and
the American Imperial Identity, 1776-1921

2010 M.A., History
University of Western Ontario
M.A. Thesis: From Dependency to Dominance: The Brazilian Economy
within the Portuguese Empire, 1500-1822

2009 Honors B.A., History
University of Western Ontario

CURRENT POSITIONS

2019 Acadia University – Department of History and Classics
Part-Time Faculty Member

2019 Dalhousie University – Department of Political Science
Part-Time Professor

2018-2019 Saint Mary’s University – Department of Social Justice and Community Studies
Part-Time Professor

PEER-REVIEWED PUBLICATIONS (FORTHCOMING)

2020 “In Search of Domestic Stability and Imperial Continuities: U.S.-Spanish Relations in the
Reconstruction Era.” In Reconstruction and Empire, edited by David Prior. New York: Fordham
University Press, 2020.

2019 “‘A Firm and Inviolable Peace and Sincere Friendship’: Spain and the Creation of the U.S. Empire
in the Late Eighteenth Century.” In Spain and the American Revolution: New Approaches and
Perspectives, edited by Gabriel Paquette and Gonzalo Quintero. Abingdon, United Kingdom:
Routledge, 2019.

SELECTED PUBLICATIONS

Book Reviews

2018 Review of Streets-Salter, Heather and Trevor R. Getz. Empires and Colonies in
The Modern World: A Global Perspective. H-Empire, H-Net Reviews, February 2018.

2015 Review of Cobbs Hoffman, Elizabeth. American Umpire. H-Empire, H-Net
Reviews, July 2015.

2014 Review of Sartorius, David. Ever Faithful: Race, Loyalty, and the Ends of
Empire in Spanish Cuba. H-Caribbean, H-Net Reviews, June 2014.

Encyclopedia Entries

2018 “Black Legend”; “World’s Fair Expositions”; “Christopher Columbus”, in:
David Head (editor), Encyclopedia of the Atlantic World, 1400-1900: Europe,
Africa, and the Americas in an Age of Exploration, Trade, and Empires (Santa
Barbara, California: ABC-CLIO, 2018).

2016 “José Quintín Banderas Betancourt”, in: Franklin W. Knight and Henry Louis
Gates, Jr. (editors), Dictionary of Caribbean and Afro-Latin American
Biography (New York: Oxford University Press, 2016).

SELECTED FELLOWSHIPS AND GRANTS

2018 Organization of American Historians Travel Grant
Society for Historians of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era

2016 Global Scholars and Diversity Grant
Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations

2015 David Bruce Centre Fellowship
Keele University – David Bruce Centre for American Studies

2014 Doctoral Research Fellowship
German Historical Institute – Washington, D.C.

2014 Bordin/Gillette Research Fellowship
University of Michigan – Bentley Historical Library

SELECTED CONFERENCE PRESENTATIONS

2018 “Stopgaps in the Imperial Periphery: The Bates Treaty and the U.S. Military’s Dependencies in the
Southern Philippines, 1899-1903”
Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations – Annual Meeting
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
June 2018

2018 “‘Wards of Uncle Sam’: American Clubwomen and their Imaginary Tours
through Latin America, 1902-1916”
Organization of American Historians – Annual Meeting
Sponsored by the Society for Historians of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era
Sacramento, California
April 2018

2017 “‘The Deathless Narrative of his Achievements’: The Veneration of the
Spanish Imperial Past in the U.S. Colonial Experience”
American Historical Association – Annual Meeting
Sponsored by the Society for Historians of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era
Denver, Colorado
January 2017

Presenter: Lisa Jarvinen, La Salle University
LISA JARVINEN

Department of History
La Salle University
1900 W. Olney Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19141
jarvinen@lasalle.edu

EDUCATION

2007 Ph.D. in Modern United States History, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse
University

1997 M.A. in Cinema Studies, Tisch School of the Arts, New York University

1991 B.A. in Literature (French and American), Residential College, University of Michigan

UNIVERSITY TEACHING AND ADMINISTRATION:

2016 to present Associate Dean, School of Arts and Sciences, La Salle University

2012 to present Associate Professor of History, La Salle University

2007-2012 Assistant Professor of History, La Salle University

SELECTED PUBLICATIONS:
2019 Book: Co-editor with Jan-Christopher Horak and Colin Gunckel, Cinema between Los Angeles and Latin America, Origins to 1960, (February 8, 2019, Rutgers University Press)

2019 Book chapter: “A Mass Market for Spanish-language Films: Los Angeles, Hybridity, and the Emergence of Latino Audiovisual Media,” in Jan-Christopher Horak, Colin Gunckel and Lisa Jarvinen, editors, Cinema between Los Angeles and Latin America, Origins to 1960, (Rutgers University Press)

2017 Website: Producer, researcher, and writer, with Conrad Gleber, "Revolution, Diaspora, and Return: The Journey of the De La Salle Cuban Brothers”
- https://www.revolution-diaspora-return.com/

2016 Book chapter: “Poorly Timed Campaigns,” in Lisa Patti and Tijana Mamula, editors, The Multilingual Screen: New Reflections on Cinema and Linguistic Difference (Bloomsbury)

2016 Book chapter: “United States,” in A.J. Angulo, editor, Mis-Education: A History of Ignorance Making in America and Beyond, (Johns Hopkins University Press)
2012 Book: The Rise of Spanish-Language Filmmaking: Out from Hollywood’s Shadow, 1929-1939 (Rutgers University Press)

2012 Book: Co-editor with Richard Garlitz, Teaching America to the World and the World to America: Education and Foreign Relations since 1870 (Macmillan / Palgrave)

2012 Book chapter: “Educating the Sons of the Revolution: The Cuban Educational Association, 1898-1900,” chapter in Garlitz and Jarvinen, editors, Teaching America to the World and the World to America: Education and Foreign Relations Since 1870 (Macmillan / Palgrave), pp. 73-92

SELECTED CONFERENCE PRESENTATIONS:

2018 Paper, “Educación e identidad religiosa durante las ocupaciones militares [Education and Religious Identity during the Military Occupations],” 43rd Caribbean Studies Association Conference, Havana, Cuba, June 4-8.

2017 “A Mass Market for Spanish-language Films: Los Angeles, Hybridity, and the Emergence of Latino Audiovisual Media,” 73rd International Federation of Film Archives (FIAF) Conference, Los Angeles, CA, April 28-May 3, 2017

2016 Paper: “The Effects of the Separation of Church and State on Education Policies during the US Occupations of Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic,” Regional Workshop on Caribbean History of Education, the International Standing Conference of the History of Education, Barranquilla, Colombia, February 3-4, 2016

2015 Paper: “Anti-Catholicism and U.S. American Education Policies during the Occupation of Cuba, 1898-1902,” Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations, Arlington, Virginia, June 25-27

2015 Panel Organizer and Chair: “The United States Military Occupations and their Effects on the Configuration of Educational Systems in the Antilles,” XXXIII International Congress of the Latin American Studies Association, San Juan, Puerto Rico, May 27-30, 2015

Presenter: Michael E. Neagle, Nichols College
MICHAEL E. NEAGLE

Assistant Professor of History
History Program Chair
Nichols College
123 Center Road
Dudley, MA 01571-5000
508-213-2089
michael.neagle@nichols.edu


EDUCATION

Ph.D., History
University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT
M.A., History
University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT
A.B., History
College of the Holy Cross, Worcester, MA


CURRENT ACADEMIC EMPLOYMENT

2014 – Present Assistant Professor of History, Nichols College


SELECTED PUBLICATIONS

America’s Forgotten Colony: Cuba’s Isle of Pines (Cambridge University Press, 2016)

“Culture and the Cold War: U.S.-Latin American Historiography since 1995,” with Mark T. Gilderhus in America in the World: The Historiography of American Foreign Relations since 1941, 2nd edition, eds. Frank Costigliola and Michael J. Hogan (Cambridge University Press, 2014)


SELECTED GRANTS AND FELLOWSHIPS

2017 Course Release Research Grant – Nichols College Faculty Development Committee

2010-11 Graduate Student Dissertation Fellowship – UConn Humanities Institute

2010 Robert A. and Barbara Divine Graduate Student Travel Grant – SHAFR



SELECTED CONFERENCE PRESENTATIONS

2017 “The Bandit as Terrorist: American Perceptions of Pancho Villa,” New England Historical Association (Eastern Connecticut State University), October 28

2016 “Standing Up to the Colossus: Cuban Nationalism and the Hay-Quesada Treaty,” Latin American Studies Association (New York), May 27-30

2016 “Opening a New Frontier: Americanizing Cuba’s Isle of Pines,” Americans Overseas: The United States in the World since 1865 (Rothermere American Institute, University of Oxford; Oxford, England), April 16

2015 “Carrying the Torch for Manifest Destiny: Private U.S. Citizens and the Hay-Quesada
Treaty Debate,” Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations (Arlington, VA), June 25-27