Prospectus Example

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How the Cubans view themselves

in Western Media

A Prospectus
For History 299

Dr. Ganaway

April 21, 2010


As a young child, I remember living in New York during the latter part of the

Cold War years. In school, we had “bomb drills” in which time we got under our desks

and took cover in case of a bomb or missile hitting the city. The apartment building that I

lived in had a “fallout shelter” downstairs underneath the building to house survivors of

nuclear war and spare them the effects of radioactivity. In my pre college studies, I

didn’t learn much about the politics behind the United State’s foreign relationships with

Cuba and the former Soviet Union and the Cold War itself. The basic premise that was

embedded in the lessons that I did receive was that the countries of Cuba and the former

Soviet Union had anti-American stance. I was taught that these countries disliked the

U.S.’s Capitalist economic system, the U.S.’s anti-Communist stand, and the American

way of life. In the pre-internet 1980s, like most Americans, I got much of my

information from the television and the newspapers because they were the main

source of information for learning about world events. Images of war, conflict or chaos

within a country helped Americans to form public opinion on foreign countries. Fidel

Castro himself was well aware of this fact when he assumed power in Cuba. To get

American support, he appeared on “Meet the Press” during the week of April 1959. The

Cold War heavily influenced entertainment in the Western Hemisphere. In the movies

and television shows, prior to the 1990s, the countries of Cuba and Russia were portrayed

as oppressive, communist countries. All of the institutions were in these countries were

nationalized and there was oppressive control over their respective arts, media, athletes

and citizens. The Cuban or Russians characters in the screen plays were portrayed as

criminal minded opportunists who were aggressive, authoritarian, hostile and wrathful. I

remember watching movies such as Rocky, White Nights, and Scarface as a child and

how made they made durable impressions on me of how negative some of the

portrayals have been of foreigners in Hollywood and American media. Since 1959, the

country of Cuba has been in the media spotlight due to Fidel Castro and his brunt on

Cuba. Without a doubt, Fidel Castro has tainted the course of Cuba and the lives of its

populace forever. It is a known reality that the typical U.S. media has been the

omnipresent element in the manufacturing of American public opinion on different

worldwide peoples, topics and issues. With graphic images and stories of the Cubans’

dilemma, different prospectives by American citizens, have been generated towards the

Cuban demographic. But how do Cubans view themselves in the media? Has media

portrayals of Cubans changed since 1969? Do Cubans believe that the media has

positioned their character in an encouraging luminosity or a pessimistic lone? My thesis

will focus on how Cubans perceived media portrayals of themselves by the western

media between 1959-1981 and whether this changed by the 1990s-2000s.


The purpose of this study is to do quantitative analyses on how Cubans perceived

media portrayals of themselves by the western media between 1959-1981 and whether

this changed by the 1990s-2000s.

Literary Review

Much of the sources for this paper will deal with personal memoirs of Cuban

immigrants, journalists and scholars. I will critically analyze this existent data and

correlate them with the interviews, newspaper articles and diaries of Cuban refugees.

This way I can correlate all of the opinions and studies. Much of the Latin

American prospective will come from The Latin American Research Review for the...
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