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Anthropology Research: New Trends

The new trend in anthropology today seems to be to conduct research in your own backyard. As a person with two "backyards," one in my homeland of the United States, and the other in the Cuban homeland of my father's ancestors, I was fortunate to be able to take part in the anthropologic study trip "A Unique Cross-Cultural, People-to-People Experience" from May 26 through June 9, 2001. The first thing I was struck with was the beauty of Santiago de Cuba. When Columbus "discovered" Cuba, a few days after he "discovered" the American mainland, he noted its "magnificent but gentle landscapes" and proclaimed Cuba (which he named Juana) "the fairest land human eyes had ever seen" (Smith 40). This was also my impression. The second image that impressed me was that of a multicultural society in which neither race nor ethnicity is a major issue. During my visit to Cuba, I benefited from the joy of seeing people who looked just like me (I am a fusion of Cuban, Native American and African American). The third image, and the one this report centers on, is the richness of Cuba's creative community life, particularly its music. Cuban music reflects the West Indies' island's international flavor.

From an anthropologic point of view music, as a form of cultural expression, symbolism, political commentary and propaganda, plays a vital role in shaping and informing culture. In both pre and post-revolutionary Cubs, music has served as both entertainment and as a mode of political and ideological expression. My experience and observation of Cuban music allowed me to understand the ways in which Cuban music and Cuban politics have intersected, and made me conclude that music is a strategy for maintaining a specific set of values, norms and mores integral to Cuban society. The music I heard, in all its various forms and modes of presentation, is deeply embedded in Cuban culture and identity.

Leon Argeliers in Essays on Cuban Music pointed out th...

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Anthropology Research: New Trends. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 02:43, December 09, 2016, from