History ETDs


Blair Woodard

Publication Date



This dissertation examines the visual discourse between Cuba and the United States that has helped shape the foreign relations between the two countries over the last fifty years. Images celebrating proximity and metaphorical connections, produced before the 1959 Cuban revolution, assisted in fortifying linkages between the two nations; whereas after the revolution, adversarial imagery further splintered the relation between the two countries. I argue that the visual culture produced in Cuba and the United States are not just 'windows to the past,' but were also 'active agents' of dialogue that both reflected and shaped an evolving transnational relationship. This relationship was characterized not only by state-to-state diplomacy, economic exchange, and military intervention, but also by the dissemination of popular representations that produced and reinforced the essence of foreign relations at a more intimate level. While traditional diplomatic history tells the story of such relationships at the official level, popular visual culture provides for a better understanding of how the U.S. and Cuban general public perceived of these relationships through representations and metaphors of family, gender, race, and class, often not visible in the textual record. It is through the interpretation of the time period's visual culture— advertising, billboards, comic books, films, photographs, political cartoons, posters, and television shows—that the history of foreign relations between Cuba and the United States as an intimate popular experience comes most clearly into focus. It is this personal, intimate connection to foreign relations produced by the visual culture of both societies that I evoke in this project.

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First Committee Member (Chair)

Hall, Linda

Second Committee Member

Smith, Jason

Third Committee Member

Alyosha, Goldstein



Project Sponsors

The Latin American and Iberian Institute University of New Mexico Department of History Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations

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