This essay focuses on the “dual” biopolitics of Cuban filmmaker Gloria Rolando’s Raíces de mi corazón (Roots of My Heart, 2001). In her film about an antiblack genocide in early-twentieth-century Cuba, Rolando seeks to recover the suppressed 1912 massacre of members of the black Cuban Partido Independiente de Color (the Independent Party of Color) and thousands of other Afro-Cubans through the plane of the intimate. The author argues that Rolando’s film challenges the myth of racial equality throughout Cuba’s modern history by celebrating Afro-Cuban traditions, from orisha rituals to patakíes (Afro-Cuban oral tradition), over a reappropriated plantational space in which black sensuality contests negative biopolitical forms. Rolando not only draws from transnational critical race theory to address the myth of Latin American exceptionalism, she also challenges Michel Foucault’s conceptualization of biopolitics casting black sensuality over racial violence.
The Dual Biopolitics in the Cuban Postplantation of Gloria Rolando’s Raíces de mi corazón
sarah margarita quesada is an assistant professor of Romance studies at Duke University. Her forthcoming book, The African Heritage of Latinx and Caribbean Literature, engages some of the most widely read Latinx and Latin American authors of the last fifty years with franco/anglo/lusophone African writers and historiography in order to identify the African-derived causes of a “Latin” excision from Africa. The book examines the era of the slave trade, nineteenth-century imperialism, black internationalism, and the rise of UNESCO heritage tourism. Her work is included in the collections Junot Díaz and the Decolonial Imagination (2016) and the Oxford Handbook of Latino Studies (2020), and has appeared in Latino Studies, the Afro-Hispanic Review, and the Journal of Haitian Studies, among others. She is a former cochair representative for Latino studies in the Latin American Studies Association.
Sarah Margarita Quesada; The Dual Biopolitics in the Cuban Postplantation of Gloria Rolando’s Raíces de mi corazón. Small Axe 1 July 2021; 25 (2 (65)): 50–68. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/07990537-9384212
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