Grant TypeDissertation Fieldwork Grant
Institutional AffiliationDuke U.
Grant numberGr. 9494
Approve DateMay 1, 2017
Project TitleDaley, Christopher J., Duke U., Durham, NC - To aid research on 'Playing the State: Cuban Baseball and Socialist Subjectivity in a Time of Change,' supervised by Dr. Orin Starn
Preliminary abstract: This project examines the Cuban baseball academy to understand the relationship between youth and the state in a changing Cuba. Specifically, I focus on how the Cuban state seeks to manage young bodies by instilling socialist sentiments through training and competition to create what I call citizen-players. After the Cuban Revolution, the government established a state-run system of amateur academies across the island. But with the collapse of the U.S.S.R. in 1991, Cuban players increasingly began leaving to play professionally in the United States. While scholarship has often focused on socialist sports as an attempt to gain international credibility, this project draw on literature on governmentality and affect, political subjectivity, and sports to understand how the Cuban government has sought to use baseball to channel young Cubans into specific lines of movement within the state’s control. Through archival research and extensive ethnographic fieldwork in the Cienfuegos baseball academy, I will analyze the movement of players’ bodies at multiple scales including: the technical movements of the body learned in drills, the rhythm of repetition between education and training, and circulation inside and outside out of the academy to understand how ethical sentiments around teamwork and sacrifice emerge through carefully guided interactions with state actors like coaches and doctors. By training with players in the academy, I will explore how players navigate a range of expectations placed on them as baseball becomes an explicit site of negotiation between Cuba and the U.S. Finally, I will consider how the players’ experience in the academy generate other possibilities within and beyond those envisioned by the state.