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Title: Cultural imperialism or cultural encounters : foreign influence through Protestant missions in Cuba, 1898-1959 : a Quaker case study
Author: Leimdorfer, Karen
ISNI:       0000 0000 7264 2652
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2004
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This thesis contributes to the 'cultural encounters' debate put forward by Gilbert Joseph and other scholars. It explores the extent to which the encounter between US Quaker missionaries and Cuban communities could be described as a cultural exchange or cultural imperialism. The study expands on Amy Kaplan's analysis of US cultures of imperialism and the promotion of these cultures as benevolent. I examine the extent to which ideas of cultural superiority and a sense of national imperial pride pervaded the attitudes and actions of the US Quaker missionaries. The research was carried out using an extensive literature review, archival research, interviews and participant observational research in the US and Cuba. The discussion explores the motives and objectives behind the Quaker mission and it is proposed that motives were characterised by the historical development of Quaker evangelism in the US, at a time of 'Manifest Destiny', the belief that the US had created a superior society that should be spread to underdevelop areas. There is also analysis of the power shifts within the Quaker mission once established, demonstrating that US Quakers believed Cubans to be inferior and unable to govern the mission, which in turn reflected the US authorities' discourse of superiority throughout the time of the Cuban Republic. I provide an examination of the education provided by the Quaker mission in which class and racial divisions were accentuated in the larger of the Quaker schools. The close relationship between the Quakers, the United Fruit Company, and local and national elites in Cuba is researched, finding this relationship to perpetuate political corruption amongst the elite. The encounter was structured by attitudes of religious, racial or cultural superiority, combined with political and economic expansionism. Describing it as a cultural exchange diverts attention from the nature of this historical and political phenomenon.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available