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Tobacco in the Dominican Republic, compared with Cuba (paper)

Commodities of Empire website:

Working Paper No.3

Jean Stubbs, 'Reinventing Mecca: Tobacco in the Dominican Republic, 1763-2007' (2007)

Text of full paper available at Commodities of Empire website; below there is an abstract. Also a sketch of Professor Stubbs and a bibliography. Her The Havana Cigar: Transatlantic Migration and Commodity Production, 1850-2000, will be published by the University of North Carolina Press.

The objective of this paper is to explore the connection between Dominican and Cuban tobacco history. The title, ‘Reinventing mecca’, refers to the period after the 1959 Cuban Revolution, when US and émigré Cuban tobacco interests combined to project the Dominican Republic as the home of quality tobacco, including famous Havana cigar brands. The US quest for alternative leaf tobacco sources after the 1960 US embargo on trade with Cuba, coupled with the exodus of Cuban tobacco families produced a dramatic post-1959 shift in Dominican tobacco history. This was augmented with Cuba’s post-1989 crisis, as the East European socialist bloc disintegrated and Cuba’s tobacco plummeted in both quantity and quality. In exploring the full significance of the post-1959 Dominican shift, the paper first provides an overview of Havana cigar history by way of contextualising Dominican tobacco history. Turning to the Dominican Republic, the initial focus is on the ‘long tobacco century’ (1763-1930), in tandem with developments in Cuba. By the mid-nineteenth century, Cuba had become the international standard for premium cigars and cigar tobacco, but saw this severely undercut during the 1868-98 independence struggles and subsequent US occupation and investment. The 1930-61 dominance of Trujillo and La Tabalacera follows almost as an interlude prior to two key periods: 1962-92, during which the seeds were (literally) sown for Cuban-type Dominican leaf to replace embargoed Cuban leaf on the US market, overtaking Cuban production and export levels in leaf in the late 1970s and cigars by the late 1980s; and 1992-2007, when Cuban-Dominican cigars dominated on the US market, also competing aggressively with Cuban cigars on the global market. The whole post-1961 period is then reexamined in the context of the Cuban influx and the Dominican exodus. The paper concludes by revisiting Dominican tobacco history as interpreted by scholars, especially the longue durée approach to ‘Dominican exceptionalism’ and the peasantry, stemming from the late nineteenth-century vision of Dominican patriot Pedro
Francisco Bonó.

Here is a sketch of Professor Stubbs and a bibliography of her publications, mostly tobacco-related.

Jean Stubbs
Professor in Caribbean Studies, and founding Director of the Caribbean Studies Centre. She was President of the Caribbean Studies Association (2002-2003), and President of the CSA''s Prize Jury (2003-2005). Member of the ESRC''s Recognition Exercise Area Studies and Development Panel (2005); the British Academy''s Latin and Caribbean Panel (2005-2006); and member of the Caribbean Study Group of the Royal Institute of International Affairs (2003-2006). She is Associate Fellow of the Institute for the Study of the Americas (London). External reviewer for the Centre for Historical Research, University of Puerto Rico (2006). Associate Editor of the journals Ciencias Sociales (University of Puerto Rico) and Vegueta (Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria). Her recent research has pursued her work on Cuban tobacco, following the ''offshore Havana cigar'' to the Canary Islands, Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Mexico and the United States. In the process, she has been instrumental in bringing together a network of international scholars working on tobacco. Professor Stubbs is an editor of The Journal of Cuban Studies.

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'Some Thoughts on the Life History Method and Researching Rural Women', IDS Bulletin, University of Sussex (January 1984)

Tobacco on the Periphery: A Case Study in Cuban Labour History, 1860-1958, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985

'Labour and Economy in Cuban Tobacco, 1860-1958', Historical Reflections (December 1985), pp.449-467

(with Mavis Alvarez) 'La mujer campesina y la cooperativización agraria en Cuba', in Magdalena Leon & Carmen Diana Deere (eds), La situación de la mujer rural en America Latina y el Caribe y las politicas del estado, Mexico City: Siglo XXI-ACEP, 1986

'Gender Issues in Contemporary Cuban Tobacco Farming', World Development, 5:1 (1987); and in Andrew Zimbalist (ed.), Cuba's Socialist Economy Towards the 1990s, Boulder & London: Lynne Rienner, 1987, pp.41-65

(with Mavis Alvarez) 'Women on the Agenda: The Cooperative Movement in Rural Cuba', in Carmen Diana Deere & Magdalena Leon (eds), Rural Women and State Policy, Boulder & London: Lynne Rienner, 1987, pp.142-161

'Gender Constructs of Labour in Prerevolutionary Cuban Tobaco', Social and Economic Studies, 37:1/2 (March-June 1988), pp.241-269

Tabaco en la periferia: El complejo agro-industrial cubano y su movimiento obrero, 1860-1959, Havana: Editorial Ciencias Sociales, 1989

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'State vs Grass-Roots Strategies for Rural Democratisation: Recent Developments among the Cuban Peasantry', Cuban Studies (Spring 1991), pp.149-168

(ed. with Sandor Halebsky et al.) Cuba in Transition: Crisis and Transformation, Boulder: Westview Press, 1992

(ed. with Pedro Pérez Sarduy) AFROCUBA: An Anthology of Cuban Writing on Race, Politics and Culture, London/New York/Melbourne: Latin America Bureau/Center for Cuban Studies/Ocean Press, 1993

'Social Equity, Agrarian Transition and Development in Cuba, 1945-1988', in Christopher Abel & Colin Lewis (eds), Welfare, Equity and Development in Latin America, London: Macmillan, 1993, pp.281-295

'Women and Cuban Smallholder Agriculture in Transition', in Janet Momsen (ed.), Women and Change in the Caribbean, London/Indianapolis/Kingston: James Currey/Indiana Press/Ian Randle, 1993, pp.219-231

'Revolutionizing Women, Family and Power', in Najma Chowdhury & Barbara Nelson (eds), Women and Politics Worldwide, Yale University Press, 1994, pp.189-207

'Social and Political Motherhood of Cuba: Mariana Grajales Cuello', in Verene Shepherd, Bridget Brereton & Barbara Bailey (eds), Engendering History: Caribbean Women in Historical Perspective, Kingston & London: Ian Randle & James Currey, 1995, pp.296-317

(with Pedro Pérez Sarduy) 'Introduction', in No Longer Invisible: Afro-Latin Americans Today, London: Minority Rights Group, 1995, pp.1-17

'Political Idealism and commodity production: Cuban Tobacco in Jamaica, 1870-1930', Cuban Studies, 25 (1995), pp.51-81

(with Lila Haines & Meic F. Haines) Cuba, Oxford: Clio Press World Bibliographical Series, 1996)

'Cuba y Jamaica en el camino del tabaco', Del Caribe, 26 (1997), pp.81-93

(ed. with Pedro Pérez Sarduy) AFROCUBA: Una antologia de escritos cubanos sobre la raza, la politica y la cultura, San Juan, PR: University of Puerto Rico, 1998)

(with Pedro Pérez Sarduy) 'Latin America' & 'Cuba', in Afropaedia, Cambridge, 1999

'Gender in Caribbean History', in Barry Higman (ed.), General History of the Caribbean VI: Methodology and Historiography of the Caribbean, UNESCO/Macmillan, 1999, pp.95-135

'Mariana Grajales Cuello: madre politica y social de Cuba', Historia y Sociedad, 11 (1999), pp.31-56

(ed. with Pedro Pérez Sarduy) Afro-Cuban Voices: On Race and Identity in Contemporary Cuba, Gainesville, FL: University Press of Florida, 2000

'Turning over a new leaf? The Havana Cigar Revisted', New West Indian Guide, 74:3&4 (December 2004), pp.235-255

'Translator's Preface' & 'The Afro-Cuban Festival "Day of the Kings": Fernando Ortiz', in Judith Bettelheim (ed.), Cuban Festivals: A Century of Afro-Cuban Culture, Kingston & Princeton: Ian Randle & Markus Wiener, 2001, pp.xiii-xix & 1-40

'Reflections on the Greater Caribbean: Multiple Identities in the Atlantic World', in Association of Caribbean States Yearbook, 2002

'Race, Gender and National Identity in Nineteenth Century Cuba: Mariana Grajales Cuello and the Revolutionary Free Browns of Cuba', in Nancy Naro (ed.), Blacks and Coloureds in the Formation of National Identity in Nineteenth-Century Latin America, London: ILAS/Palgrave, 2003, pp.95-112

'Tobacco in the Contrapunteo: Ortiz and the Havana Cigar', in Mauricio A. Font & Alfonso W. Quiroz (eds), Cuban Counterpoints: The Legacy of Fernando Ortiz, Lanham, MD: Lexington, 2004

'Havana Cigars and the West's Imagination', in Sander L. Gilman & Zhou Xun (eds), Smoke: A Global History of Smoking, London: Reaktion Books, 2004, pp.134-139

'Reflexiones acerca del Gran Caribe: identidades multiples en el mundo del Atlántico', in Jaime Arocha (ed.), Utopia para los excluidos: el multiculturalismo en Africa y América Latina, Bogotá: Universidad Nacional de Colombia, 2004 pp.111-130

'Reflections on Class, Race, Gender and Nation in Cuban Tobacco: 1850-2000', in Constance Sutton (ed.), Revisiting Caribbean Labor: Essays in Honor of O. Nigel Bolland, Kingston, Jamaica: Ian Randle, 2005

'Mariana Grajales Cuello', in Colin Palmer et al. (eds), Encyclopedia of African American Culture and History: the Black Experience in the Americas, 2nd edition, Macmillan Reference USA, 2005

'Tobacco in the Contrpunteo: Ortiz and the Havana Cigar', in Mauricio A. Font and Alfonso W. Quiroz (eds), Cuban Counterpoints: The Legacy of Fernando Ortiz, Lexington, Lanham MD, 2005

The Havana Cigar: Transatlantic Migration and Commodity Production, 1850-2000, Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, forthcoming

Posted by David Fahey on May 23, 2008 at 07:21 AM in Cuba, Dominican Republic, Tobacco | Permalink