Skip to content

Empire's Guestworkers
Haitian Migrants in Cuba during the Age of US Occupation

$30.99 (C)

Part of Afro-Latin America

  • Date Published: May 2019
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107566958

$ 30.99 (C)

Add to cart Add to wishlist

Other available formats:
Hardback, eBook

Looking for an examination copy?

This title is not currently available for examination. However, if you are interested in the title for your course we can consider offering an examination copy. To register your interest please contact providing details of the course you are teaching.

Product filter button
About the Authors
  • Haitian seasonal migration to Cuba is central to narratives about race, national development, and US imperialism in the early twentieth-century Caribbean. Filling a major gap in the literature, this innovative study reconstructs Haitian guestworkers' lived experiences as they moved among the rural and urban areas of Haiti, and the sugar plantations, coffee farms, and cities of eastern Cuba. It offers an unprecedented glimpse into the daily workings of empire, labor, and political economy in Haiti and Cuba. Migrants' efforts to improve their living and working conditions and practice their religions shaped migration policies, economic realities, ideas of race, and Caribbean spirituality in Haiti and Cuba as each experienced US imperialism.

    • Offers an opportunity to overcome the linguistic fragmentation in the Caribbean and to understand the effects of US foreign policy on individual lives
    • Provides glimpses into previously unseen aspects of Cuban and Haitian, history such as daily life in eastern Cuba's sugar and coffee zones, and the experiences of rural Haitians under US military occupation (1915–34), differing from many studies that focus only on the capitals of Havana and Port-au-Prince
    • Connects local actions to global trends and emphasizes the benefits of interpreting Cuba and Haiti within a global framework
    • Provides something of a pre-history to the contemporary Haitian diaspora that is normally associated with destinations like the Dominican Republic, the Bahamas and the United States
    Read more

    Reviews & endorsements

    'This exhaustively researched and incisively analyzed study spotlights the Haitians who migrated to Cuba during the first decades of the twentieth century. Revising received assumptions with each chapter, Matthew Casey reveals the heterogeneous identities and experiences of Haitians in Cuba, the extent to which they forged connections with local people and migrants from other parts of the Caribbean, and the role they played in shaping larger social, cultural, economic, and political processes. Empire’s Guestworkers is a model of transnational historical scholarship from below.' Kate Ramsey, University of Miami, Coral Gables

    'This book is a deeply-researched and lucidly-reasoned study of migration, race, nation, and empire in what may be the first instance of the guestworker programs and massive deportations that would come to characterize contemporary global migrations. Casey explores the process from above - the triangular power relations between states and elites - and below - the migrant’s transnational strategies of resistance and adaptation - in a manner that is creative, dialectical, and eye-opening.' José C. Moya, Columbia University, New York

    'A major achievement, Matthew Casey's extraordinary study peels away the obfuscating layers of conventional history to present in glimmering details the daily trials and rewards of early twentieth century Haitian migrants in Cuba. The book is more than a migration narrative: it is a profound reminder that the intricate evolution of Caribbean nations in a world of empire cannot be fully understood without close study of their past connections.' Matthew J. Smith, University of the West Indies, Mona

    'Empire’s Guestworkers is an exceptionally rigorous, engaging, and thoughtful book that makes an invaluable contribution to existing scholarship. In illuminating the complexities that characterized these migrants and this migration, Casey calls into question constructions of migrants, nations, and empires across time and place.' Andrea Queeley, H-LatAm

    '… an original and engaging work for scholars, teachers, policymakers and members of a more general audience concerned about how and why our societies become diverse in population, generate local and transnational networks, establish and enforce particular laws, and continue to be burdened by particular prejudices and persistent debates.' Chantalle F Verna, Journal of Social History

    ‘Empire’s Guestworkers is an impressive piece of scholarship, both analytically and methodologically.’ Matthew Davidson, SX Salon (

    See more reviews

    Customer reviews

    Not yet reviewed

    Be the first to review

    Review was not posted due to profanity


    , create a review

    (If you're not , sign out)

    Please enter the right captcha value
    Please enter a star rating.
    Your review must be a minimum of 12 words.

    How do you rate this item?


    Product details

    • Date Published: May 2019
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107566958
    • length: 325 pages
    • dimensions: 230 x 153 x 20 mm
    • weight: 0.34kg
    • contains: 11 b/w illus. 2 maps 4 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Making the Haitian-Cuban border and creating temporary migrants
    2. Leaving US occupied Haiti
    3. Living and working in Cuban sugar plantations
    4. Picking coffee and building families in Eastern Cuba
    5. Creating religious communities, serving spirits and decrying sorcery
    6. Mobilizing politically and debating race and empire in Cuban cities
    7. Returning to Haiti and the aftermath of US occupation.

  • Author

    Matthew Casey, University of Southern Mississippi
    Matthew Casey is Nina Bell Suggs Professor of History at the University of Southern Mississippi.

Sorry, this resource is locked

Please register or sign in to request access. If you are having problems accessing these resources please email

Register Sign in
Please note that this file is password protected. You will be asked to input your password on the next screen.

» Proceed

You are now leaving the Cambridge University Press website. Your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner Please see the permission section of the catalogue page for details of the print & copy limits on our eBooks.

Continue ×

Continue ×

Continue ×
warning icon

Turn stock notifications on?

You must be signed in to your Cambridge account to turn product stock notifications on or off.

Sign in Create a Cambridge account arrow icon

Find content that relates to you

Join us online

This site uses cookies to improve your experience. Read more Close

Are you sure you want to delete your account?

This cannot be undone.


Thank you for your feedback which will help us improve our service.

If you requested a response, we will make sure to get back to you shortly.

Please fill in the required fields in your feedback submission.