Libertad e Instrucción: Race and Education in Nineteenth-Century Cuba
Raquel Otheguy

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship

Award Year



Bronx Community College, The City University of New York

Primary Discipline

My book "Libertad e Instrucción: Race and Education in Nineteenth-Century Cuba" will trace the development of the national education system in the racial and colonial context of nineteenth-century Cuba. I look at debates among Spanish colonial authorities and local creole officials about whether people of color should have access to education as students and teachers, and at these elites' drive to codify and enforce racial segregation in one of the island's most important public institutions: the emerging education system. This book will also trace the intellectual history of black Cuban thought regarding education, and will explore the educational activities and initiatives of people of color themselves, thus positioning Afro-descendants at the center of the story of the rise of mass education in Cuba. In the ways that black people interacted with the colonial school system and its authorities, and in the separate schools they created during the nineteenth century, we see that black Cubans were resisting the hardening racial boundaries that characterized nineteenth-century Cuban life, and furthermore, that they were developing alternative visions of possible societies, nations, and futures for themselves and for the island society.
About Raquel Otheguy
Raquel Alicia Otheguy is Assistant Professor of History at Bronx Community College of the City University of New York, specializing in the history of Latin America, the Caribbean, and the African Diaspora. Otheguy received her Ph.D. in History from Stony Brook University, SUNY in 2016. Her doctoral dissertation received the 2017 Honorable Mention from the New England Council on Latin American Studies. Her research is based on material gathered in archives in the Cuban cities of Cienfuegos, Santiago, and Havana, as well as in archives in Tuskegee, New York City, and Washington, D.C. During the 2013-2014 academic year, Otheguy was a Spencer Foundation Dissertation Fellow at the National Academy of Education. She has presented her research at conferences in the U.S. and abroad, including meetings of the Association of Caribbean Historians, the American Educational Research Association, and the American Historical Association. Otheguy, a U.S.-born bilingual Latina, received her B.A. in History from Columbia University.

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