Feminist Geopolitics of Immobility in Cuba

Authors: John Paul Henry*, University of Kansas
Topics: Political Geography, Latin America
Keywords: Feminist Geopolitics, Immobility, Slow Violence, Cuba, Embodiment
Session Type: Paper
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The embargo enacted by the United States against Cuba in 1962 has emerged as a discursive and political form of violence enacted on everyday Cuban citizens. While substantial knowledge has been generated about the historical origins of US-Cuban relations (Dominguez and Prevost 2008; Pérez 2003) and economic and cultural implications of these politics (Wilson 2014; Scarpaci et al. 2016; Scarpaci and Portela 2009), much less is known about the embodied effects and violence of such politics. My paper addresses this research gap by using a feminist geopolitical framework (Hyndman 2004; Dowler and Sharp 2001) to analyze the discourses (O’Lear 2018) that continue to frame Cuba, and the bodies contained within the political space, as geopolitical categories such as “regionally destabilizing.” This research adds to a nascent understanding of the violent implications of immobility (Bhungalia 2012). In this case, immobility of US tourist bodies and Cuban bodies alike creates diminished access to basic materiality and micronutrients for everyday Cubans (Galtung 1969; Foucault 2003). Better understanding the embodied implications of this categorization, which are embedded in an imperial hierarchy of violence (Tadiar 2004), is central to dismantling and making visible forms of slow violence enacted in temporally expansive frames (Nixon 2011). Though a discursive analysis this paper addresses the need for further research examining the embodied experiences of violence through the geopolitics of immobility.

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