Forging the Masculine and Modern Nation: Race, Identity, and the Public Sphere in Cuba and Mexico, 1890s - 1930s
LaFevor, David Clark
Forging the Masculine and Modern Nation: Race, Identity, and the Public Sphere in Cuba and Mexico, 1890s - 1930s David C. LaFevor This dissertation explores the gendered, nationalist, and racial ideas around the introduction of boxing in Cuba and Mexico in the early twentieth century. This transnational history traces the movement of cultural ideas and the appropriation of novel conceptualizations of the body, modernity, and masculinity against the backdrop of the enormous social and cultural upheavals of Cuban Independence and the Mexican Revolution. Advances in media technology brought paragons of transnational virility in the form of modern athletes increasingly within reach of Latin Americans from across the class spectrum; governments were forced to legalize the once “barbaric” sport of boxing. In the nineteenth century pugilism was outlawed and interpreted as the detritus of American culture. By the 1920s, influential media, the popularity of masculine role-models, and the success of Cubans and Mexicans in the prize ring against foreign opponents transformed boxing from a raffish preserve of cosmopolitan elites into a means to express working-class masculinity and national pride.