The Subject of Revolution

Between Political and Popular Culture in Cuba

By Jennifer L. Lambe

The Subject of Revolution

360 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 22 halftones

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-8115-3
    Published: August 2024
  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4696-8114-6
    Published: August 2024

Envisioning Cuba

Paperback Available August 2024, but pre-order your copy today!

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From television to travel bans, geopolitics to popular dance, The Subject of Revolution explores how knowledge about the 1959 Cuban Revolution was produced and how the Revolution in turn shaped new worldviews. Drawing on sources from over twenty archives as well as film, music, theater, and material culture, this book traces the consolidation of the Revolution over two decades in the interface between political and popular culture. The "subject of Revolution," it proposes, should be understood as the evolving synthesis of the imaginaries constructed by its many "subjects," including revolutionary leaders, activists, academics, and ordinary people within and beyond the island's borders.

The book reopens some of the questions that have long animated debates about Cuba, from the relationship between populace and leadership to the archive and its limits, while foregrounding the construction of popular understandings. It argues that the politicization of everyday life was an inescapable effect of the revolutionary process as well as the catalyst for new ways of knowing and being.

About the Author

Jennifer L. Lambe is associate professor of history at Brown University.
For more information about Jennifer L. Lambe, visit the Author Page.


"In this pathbreaking cultural history, Lambe studies how Cubans scripted, televised, posted, filmed, or disseminated through radio wavebands their contradictory understandings of 'the Revolution,' producing themselves as the subjects of the very process they sought to encapsulate. Knowledge production about ideal revolutionary subjects, forever in the making, crafted the actors who narrated the Revolution."—Alejandro de la Fuente, author of Becoming Free, Becoming Black: Race, Freedom, and Law in Cuba, Virginia, and Louisiana

"Lambe approaches her subject from a distinctive interpretative angle, almost a meta-angle. This highly innovative work will no doubt shake up how we study and conceive of the Cuban Revolution and perhaps revolution more broadly."—Eric Zolov, author of The Last Good Neighbor: Mexico in the Global Sixties

"A book that goes beyond the conventional readings and a priori assumptions that bedevil cultural studies approaches to Cuba . . . the research is excellent and pertinent."—Antoni Kapcia, author of A Short History of the Revolutionary Cuba