Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Arthur P. Bochner, Ph. D.

Committee Member

Carolyn Ellis, Ph. D., Ph.D.

Committee Member

Eric Eisenberg, Ph. D., Ph.D.

Committee Member

Madeline Cámara, Ph. D., Ph.D.


Autoethnography, displacement, exile, identity, memory, narrative, survivor, ambiguous loss, unfulfilled dreams


In this dissertation, I draw on memories inspired and heightened by compassionate interviews in order to produce a unifying narrative of interactions with family and friends prior to and following my exile from Cuba in 1960. I use autoethnography and narrative inquiry to understand how I made the decision to leave Cuba and the life I have lived in exile for almost sixty years. My dissertation focuses on what it means to live as a reluctant immigrant and how historically constituted power relations define the identity of many Cuban exiles. I discuss and contrast the politics of passion and the politics of affection. The politics of affection undermine the goals of the politics of passion; the moral imperative of what ought to be is not achieved and becomes an antecedent of the necessity to exile. The story I tell draws attention to memory, identity, displacement, the experience of ambiguous loss, the sadness of unfulfilled dreams of return, and the decision to live in exile as a survivor not a victim regardless of my disenchantment and resistance to the Castro Revolution.

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