Christina Abreu

Current Research

My research focuses on the role of race, nationalism, and migration in the Cuban and Spanish Caribbean diasporic communities of the United States with a particular emphasis on popular culture.  My first book, Rhythms of Race: Cuban Musicians and the Making of Cuban New York City and Miami, 1940-1960, examined the relationship between black and white Cuban musicians and the Cuban and broader Latinx communities of New York City and Miami in the 1940s and 1950s. In my second book, Patria over Profits: The Story of Afro-Cuban Boxing Champion Teófilo Stevenson, I offer a cultural history of the life and times of Afro-Cuban boxing champion Teófilo Stevenson, winner of three heavyweight boxing Olympic gold medals in 1972, 1976, and 1980. In detailing Stevenson’s triumphs in the ring, another more complex and interconnected story emerges about revolutionary Cuba and the island’s Afro-Caribbean connections, race and black athletic activism, Cuban exile culture and politics, and international sports celebrity. Patria over Profits is under contract with the Sport and Society series at the University of Illinois Press.

Major Publications


Articles/Book Chapters

  • "Más que una reina: Race and Gender in the Musical Careers of Graciela Pérez, Celia Cruz, and La Lupe," Special issue on "The Social and Cultural History of Music," Journal of Social History 52.2 (Winter 2018): 332-352.
  • "Huber Matos and Cuba Independiente y Democrática (CID): Exile Leadership beyond Cuban Miami’s Geo-Political Borders." Journal of Historical Biography 15 (Spring 2014): 34-71.
  • "The Story of Benny ‘Kid’ Paret: Cuban Boxers, the Cuban Revolution, and the U.S. Media, 1959-1962." Journal of Sport History 38, no. 1 (Spring 2011): 401-419. Translated into Portuguese and published in Recorde: Revista de História do Esporte 8, no. 2 (December 2015): 1-26.
  • "Celebrity, ‘Crossover,’ and Cubanidad: Celia Cruz as ‘La Reina de Salsa,’ 1971-2003." Latin American Music Review 28, no. 1 (Spring/Summer 2007): 94-124.

Teaching Interests

My teaching interests include courses on U.S. Latinx history, modern Caribbean history, and modern Cuban history.  I also teach courses focused on specific methodologies, such as an undergraduate-level course on Latinx oral history and a graduate-level research seminar on cultural history.  Many of my courses focus on comparative race and ethnicity, migration and transnationalism, and popular culture.

Courses Taught

  • ILAS 399: Latinx Oral History
  • HIST 374: Latinxs in the United States
  • HIST 388: Cuban Revolution and Its Legacies
  • LATS 101: Introduction to Latino Studies

Interdisciplinary Affiliation

Center for Latino and Latin American Studies






Christina Abreu
Associate Professor

U.S. Latinx History; Caribbean History; Comparative Race and Ethnicity; Popular Culture
Ph.D., University of Michigan, 2012

Center for Latino and Latin American Studies 113

Office Hours

By appointment, online