Faculty Book: Araceli Tinajero
El Lector: A History of the Cigar Factory Reader, trans. by J. E. Grasberg
(University of Texas Press, 2010)
The practice of reading aloud among cigar factory workers in Cuba has a long history, and the tradition still survives in Cuba as a hard-won right, deeply embedded in the workers' culture. Tinajero traces the evolution of the reader from nineteenth-century Cuba to the present and its eventual dissemination to Tampa, Key West, Puerto Rico, and Mexico. Through an examination of journals, newspapers, and personal interviews, Tinajero relates how the reading was organized, how the readers and readings were selected, and how the process affected the relationship between workers and factory owners. Cigar factory workers were far more cultured and in touch with the political currents of the day than other workers because of the reader. And it was not only the reading material that influenced the workers; the act of listening provided discipline and helped with production in the artisan's job. Araceli Tinajero (Assoc. Prof., City) is on the doctoral faculty in Hispanic and Luso-Brazilian literatures and languages.
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Submitted on: FEB 15, 2010