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First World Women, Third World Revolutions: The Nicaragua and Cuban Revolutions as Reflections of the Trajectory of the Feminist Movement in the United States in the late 20th Century

Wolozin, Elizabeth

This thesis works to elucidate the ways in which the Cuban and Nicaraguan Revolutions were intellectually productive and imaginative spaces for Western feminists to think through questions of patriarchy and the intersections of gender and class.

I argue that the trajectory of the second-wave feminist movement in the United States was reflected in and influenced by the writings of American feminists on the Cuban and Nicaraguan Revolutions.

During the decade after the Cuban Revolution those writing were increasingly concerned with Cuban women’s integration into the Cuban economy. Such a concern was indicative of an ideological framework that understood material, economic change as the catalyst for political and cultural change, and I believe was reflective of the beginning of the second-wave feminist movement concerned with “the problem that has no name”, equal rights, and the integration of American housewives into the waged workforce. By the time the Nicaraguan Revolution was won in 1979, these writers pronounced Cuban women’s position as fundamentally unchanged: economic change did not produce cultural change necessarily.

Subsequently, in the Nicaraguan experiment, writings of these select women reflect a broader American feminist concern with the nature of power and autonomy: distinctions between “feminine” and “feminist” goals, reproductive rights and sexual Revolution in the ‘80s and ‘90s as the women's liberation movement evolved to understand the intersections of gender, race, sexuality and class.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies (Barnard College)
History (Barnard College)
Thesis Advisors
Milanich, Nara
Wolloch, Nancy
Degree
B.A., Barnard College
Published Here
October 5, 2018

Notes

Keywords: Cuban Revolution, Nicaraguan Revolution, Women's Liberation, Feminism