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Sun, Sex and Socialism: Cuba in the German Imaginary

Although North Americans may not recognize it, Cuba has long shaped the German imaginary. Sun, Sex, and Socialism picks up this story from the early 1960s, detailing how the newly upstart island in the U.S. backyard inspired citizens on both sides of the Berlin Wall.

By the 1970s, international rapprochements and repressions on state levels were stirring citizen disenchantment, discontent, and grassroots solidarities in all three nations. The Cold War’s official end generated waves of politicised nostalgia and prescriptions for the newly configured Cuba and Germany, as exemplified in films like Buena Vista Social Club. Meanwhile, from the New Left movement to today, revolutionary compatriots Ché Guevara and Tamara Bunke continued to be icons of youth resistance, even while being commodified globally.

Sun, Sex, and Socialism illustrates how Germans identified with transnational communities beyond the East-West binary. Through analysis of cultural production that often countered governmental intentions for official diplomacy, Jennifer Ruth Hosek offers a broad-reaching history of the influence of the global South on the global North.