Cuban Sugar Industry: Transnational Networks and Engineering Migrants in Mid-nineteenth Century Cuba

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    Authors & editors

    Curry-Machado, Jonathan [Author]

    Publisher Palgrave
    Year of publication 2011

    Medium Book

    Food (non-cereal) processes > Sugar


    Scope & contentPublisger:
    Nineteenth-century Cuba led the world in sugar manufacture and technological innovation was central to this. Along with steam-powered machinery came migrant engineers; indispensable aliens who were well rewarded for their efforts. But they remained perennial outsiders; symbolic of Cuba's growing economic dependency; privileged scapegoats unconsciously caught up in the island's political insecurities.

    This book tells the story of a group of forgotten migrant workers who anonymously contributed to Cuba's development and whose experience helps illuminate both the advance of the Cuban sugar industry and the processes by which the island was bound into global commodity-driven networks of control, dependency, and resistance.

    Academic Reviews:
    "History at its best - crafted to link commodity and migration history, documenting networks of merchants, manufacturers, and skilled workers and how their mobility and knowledge transfer catapulted nineteenth-century Cuba to the pinnacle of global sugar production and trade, regaling us with a window onto the forgotten lives of itinerant maquinistas following the routes of British steam-driven technology, a world in which they enjoyed the privileges of a foreign white enclave in a slave plantation economy yet were also social outsiders, both catalysts and scapegoats when the contradictions of Spanish colonial slave society in an epoch of British abolitionism, erupted in the 1844 Ladder Conspiracy. A veritable tour de force in global labour history." - Jean Stubbs, Institute for the Study of the Americas, University of London

    "Jonathan Curry-Machado's social history of the engineers and mechanics that immigrated from northern Europe and North America to Cuba during the first half of the nineteenth century provides an original perspective on the industrialization of world cane sugar production and Cuba's pioneering position in it. Curry-Machado carefully reconstructs the role of these foreign technicians in the transformation of the Cuban sugar industry, and effectively situates their experience within the tensions deriving from the relations between global networks and local conditions, technological change in a slave economy, and foreign identity in a colonial society. This book will be of interest to specialists and general readers alike." - Dale Tomich, Binghamton University

    Copies held

    Accession no. 230698

    • Shelf location: D400-CUR


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