Sites that Speak is a digital humanities 2.0 publication that focuses on the development of Spanish theater in Miami through the re-search of its performing spaces between 1959 and 1980. The dates frame the mid-century transformation of Miami with the first Cuban exiles at the triumph of the Cuban Revolution (1959) and the exodus known as the Mariel boat lift (1980). I want to map-- literally and figuratively-- the development of Spanish theater from garages and schools to warehouses, from the former Flagler Theater where Fidel Castro addressed an audience in Spanish in 1955 and Teatro Martí --a Ku Klux Klan meeting space in the 40s-- to the Gables Cinematheque, previous home of Teatro Avante. By doing a cultural mapping of Spanish theater in Miami, I demonstrate the ways in which claiming a space as a theatrical space, in addition to adding to the cultural development of our city, has contributed to the survival of theater as an art form, as an intangible cultural heritage of a community in the making. In so doing, I also analyze the economic and socio-political transformation of the different communities that have contributed to the transformation of Miami into a global city. This research is of utmost relevance because it fills a research gap (Spanish theater in Miami) while at the same time proposes a different conceptualization of Miami as a world city through its theatrical spaces. Most importantly, it will do so through a Digital Humanities 2.0 publication that incorporates GIS for cultural mapping thus pushing the borders of digital humanities scholarship.
The introduction is structured around three paths. The first one lays out the theoretical and methodological tools for the essay. The second one traces the connections between Miami and Havana prior to 1959. The last one presents a socio-historical overview of Spanish-speaking Miami and the roles Cuban played in the transformation of the city during this period.