UPDATE: Rebel Dance, Renegade Stance: Timba Music and Black Identity in Cuba is now available in paperback from the University of Michigan Press.


It’s been a productive year for CSUMB professor Umi Vaughan.

In April, his book, Carlos Aldama's Life in Batá: Cuba, Diaspora, and the Drum, was published.

On Oct. 28, the University of Michigan Press will publish his most recent work.

Rebel Dance, Renegade Stance by Dr. Umi VaughanThe book, Rebel Dance, Renegade Stance: Timba Music and Black Identity in Cuba, shows how community music-makers and dancers take in all that is around them socially and globally, and unfold their memories, sentiments, and raw responses within open spaces designated or commandeered for local popular dance.

Dr. Vaughan, an anthropologist, musician, dancer and photographer who lived in Cuba, reveals a rarely discussed perspective on contemporary Cuban society during the 1990s, the peak decade of timba, as the Cuban leadership transferred from Fidel Castro to his brother. The book also reveals popular dance music in the context of a generation of fierce and creative performers.

By looking at the experiences of black Cubans and exploring the notion of "Afro Cuba," Rebel Dance, Renegade Stance explains timba's evolution and significance in the larger context of Cuban culture.

Dr. Vaughan is an associate professor of Africana Studies at CSUMB, where he created an innovative course called Afro Cuba Hip Hop: Music and Dance in the Black Atlantic. It covers the social history and practice of music/dance styles from throughout the African Diaspora.

He has conducted extensive anthropological research in Cuba about Afro Cuban music and dance, and created numerous scholarly presentations, art exhibits and cultural events in the U.S. and abroad.

He holds a Ph.D. in cultural anthropology from the University of Michigan.

Learn more about Dr. Vaughan on his website

This is an exciting and informative study of Cuban popular culture and a relevant contribution to assessments of the Revolution's social agenda, particularly with regard to dark-skinned Cubans. Its distinction is within its balanced anthropological perspective on the politics of Cuban dance music and its accompanying series of vivid photographs, which comment eloquently in dialogue with Umi Vaughan's compelling content.

— Yvonne Daniel, Smith College

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