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Title page for ETD etd-03282011-151526

Type of Document Dissertation
Author LaFevor, David Clark
URN etd-03282011-151526
Title Forging the Masculine and Modern Nation: Race, Identity, and the Public Sphere in Cuba and Mexico, 1890s - 1930s
Degree PhD
Department History
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Dr. Jane Landers Committee Chair
Dr. Marshall C. Eakin Committee Co-Chair
Dr. Edward Wright-Rios Committee Member
Dr. Gary Gerstle Committee Member
Dr. William Luis Committee Member
  • Boxing
  • Sport
  • Masculinity
  • Cuba
  • Mexico
  • Modern Latin America
  • National Identity
  • Nationalism
  • Gender
  • Mexican Revolution
  • Cuban Independence
  • Porfiriato
  • Mexico City
  • Havana
  • Habana
  • Bodies
  • Physical Culture
  • Race
  • Transnational
Date of Defense 2011-02-28
Availability unrestricted
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.

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