Thanks to Kaifa for this syllabus. Surely many of us teach courses or sections of courses about Cuba. Please, please take a moment to upload any appropriate syllabus, or send it in an email attachment to firstname.lastname@example.org. Or, if you find it helpful to compare syllabi and have found a particular reading or two to be especially effective pedagogically, please at least take a moment to add a brief comment to this post!
Here is the syllabus from a course I taught last year on revolutionary Cuba. It was an upper-level undergraduate course at Mt. Holyoke College, so I was able to expect a fair amount of reading, but no previous knowledge of any sort. I would love to see Ethnocuba become a forum for sharing syllabi and discussion of what has worked in different contexts, as well as what could have gone better… Indeed, there were a couple of articles on this syllabus which were especially productive even though they were not well known, while there were a couple of books I likely won’t use again. Anyone up for a discussion, or willing to post their own syllabi? Always great to learn about resources that work, pedagogically…
Note Ariana Hernández-Reguant’s article “Copyrighting Che: Art and Authorship under Cuban Late Socialism” in The Anthropology of Globalization: A Reader, 2nd Edition, Wiley-Blackwell, 2007.
Reading the recent changes to family travel licenses, as intended to affect Cuban-American travel to Cuba, there seems to be a crucial new sentence which could affect some of us. That is, that where the June 2004 changes–enacted just after the birth of my first child–prohibited dependants and family members from accompanying licensed travelers, these new regs include the following sentence:
“Specific licenses may be issued on a case-by-case basis for additional visits during the 12-month period, as well as for travel to Cuba to visit a close relative who is not a national of Cuba.” (emphasis added).
Does this mean that we can now apply for specific licenses to have our spouses, children, siblings and/or parents visit us in Cuba, if we are ourselves there as researchers? Personally, this would be a tremendous improvement over the situation of the past five years, since it’s been nigh-impossible to leave my partner with our small children for extended research trips. Does anyone have any knowledge of these recent OFAC changes in practice, or read them differently?
Echoing several queries by colleagues, has anyone read this yet? Anyone know the author?
UPDATE: After a wide cast inquiry, nobody in the anthropology community seems to have come into encounter with the author in Cuba or elsewhere. Since we are not in the habit of judging a book by its cover, we are happy to provide a short commentary on the book on the basis of a complete cover-to-cover read. Inside El Barrio. By Tom Carter:
The book will not provide any revelations or real insights for any specialist on Cuba. It lacks ethnographic depth or Cuban agency in its analysis. What is really surprising is given the number of years the author spent conducting field research in Havana and the survey conducted, the book is rather rudimentary in its discussion of Cuba. Nonetheless, because it covers a broad range of topics it would make a good introductory text.
Update 2: As Tom notes in his full comment, this was based on a quick read. Like him, I’ve now gotten a copy a couple of days ago, and had time for a similarly cursory look. I largely concur with his take, but to be fair, it is clear that Taylor is a professor of urban planning, not an anthropologist. In that sense, it would be most useful for introductory urban studies courses, or perhaps in counterpoint to the work of ethnographers working on urban space in Cuba. (e.g. Matthew Hill’s article in Sassen’s recent edited volume, for instance). –PR
This year the title of the SOYUZ conference is “Global socialisms and post-socialisms.” Time after time, SOYUZ has been Eastern Europe-USSR centered. We commend our colleagues for their efforts to include, this time, scholars working on and writing about current and former socialist regimes located elsewhere. This time we observe papers on Africa, China, Vietnam, but unfortunately, there is no Cuba presence among presenters. We hope, however, that the Cubanist voice of discussant P. Sean Brotherton will be loud enough and will inaugurate a practice that will grow and grow…
Che’s Afterlife. The Legacy of an Image. By Michael Casey Random House (forthcoming April 15th)
I was interviewed by the author at one point. It sounds like the book might be useful for undergraduate classes on globalization, cultural circulation and the like. I copy the following from the book’s marketing webpage.
<<Part travelogue, part historical documentary, part social commentary, Che’s Afterlife traces the Korda image’s passage from casual snapshot to international symbol of rebellion as it evolves inexorably into a copyright-contested brand stamped on everything from T-shirts to condoms. With an eye for detail and for the forgotten moments of history that are all but lost on the cutting room floors of photography studios and newsrooms, Casey unravels the myths behind the image – not so much as an iconoclast unveiling an elusive truth but as a probing investigator who is mapping the icon’s DNA. As he follows it across the Americas and through cyberspace, he shows us why, after so many years, the mercurial Che icon still ignites passions, and then presents the image as a reflection on how we view ourselves. Che’s Afterlife is a unique, insightful commentary on the global capitalist economy and our information age, one that demonstrates the supremacy of images and brands within that system.>>
In case you have never explored vodpod, it has hundreds of Cuban and diasporic documentaries, films, and clips. This one (11 min), for instance, is a short documentary about some Timorese medical students currently studying in Cuba. There are also many hard-to-find classics of Cuban cinema, from “Por Primera Vez” (9 min) to “Taller de Línea y 18,” (16 min) which is one of my favorites, as it stars many of my neighbors in Edificio Girón, when they were much younger workers in the Girón bus factory… Not sure whether one needs to log in or not, but http://cinedocumental.vodpod.com/ has an especially good collection of Cuban documentaries and films, mixed in with some other stuff. Have not been able to watch all of them, but check out the site and let us know if you find any interesting ones.
UPDATE: An even better collection of Cuban films you may find at:
UPDATE 2: And here’s another website with recent Cuban documentaries:
CHALLENGES OF THE RACIAL PROBLEM IN CUBA
Esteban Morales Domínguez
University of Havana
BY WAY OF INTRODUCTION
My book, on which I wish to comment, was published February 15, 2008, by the Casa de la Fundación Don Fernando Ortiz under the same tit le as this summary. It included a magnificent introduction by Dr. Fernando Martinez Heredia. The public crowded the Casa showing interest in the topic and on the same day, nearly half of the published copies, which totaled only a modest 1,000, were sold.
In reality, no book attempting to examine the contemporary racial issue has been published in more than 45 years. In Cuba, works that address the contemporary racial problem in Cuba are found mostly in magazines, are very few in number and are found most notably in Temas and Catauro.
Outside of Cuba, there have been publications covering the topic in a contemporary way. Aline Helg, Alejandro de la Fuente and Carlos Moore stand out for their voluminous researches. But none of them shares with us the vicissitudes of daily life in Cuba, and this is clear in their writings. These are valuable contributions, though we may or may not share some of their views. Aside from the difficulties of taking up the topic within current Cuban society – a matter we will address later – in practice, we have ceded to others the treatment of a problem of vital importance in the life of the country… MORE. For complete text: challenges-of-the-racial-problem-in-cuba .
AAA double session on ethnography of Cuba, circa 1998!
Eugene was a dear friend, who used to work at Radio Habana Cuba and came often to the United States. He was a scholar of Afro-Cuban culture and music.
For more information see
Eugène Godfried Presilia
10/23/1952 – 3/29/2009
community organizer, music producer,
and radio journalist
Director, Caribbean Division, Radio Havana
Director, Radio Eugene Godfried International
Eugène Godfried Presilia passed on to the ancestors Sunday morning, March 29, 2009, in Willemstad, Curaçao, after suffering a grave stroke March 21st. He is survived by two daughters in Curaçao, Yomini and Nohraya Godfried, a daughter in Oriente, Krisjocelyn Godfried , as well as his aunt Crisma Merien-Presilia in Curaçao who raised him, his father Alwin Godfried, his sisters Alwina and Nathaly, his brothers Egbert, Alwin Jr., and Nathaniel, and his cousins, including Rutger Merien. Services are tentatively planned for Saturday, April 4th, with people coming in from around the Caribbean. The family is planning an exhibit to accompany the services and is appealing to those who have images, videos, or writings to send them along to nohrayagodfried_AT_afrocubaweb.com.
Eugène Godfried was a community organizer, music producer, ethnomusicologist, and radio journalist. For the past 30 years, he worked with Caribbean nations to promote ideas and actions regarding popular culture and Caribbean identity. He dedicated his life to articulating and interpreting cultures of the Caribbean and to fostering Afro-Caribbean pride.
Born in the nation of Curaçao Dutch Antilles, Mr. Godfried began his education in Catholic primary schools of his homeland and took his higher degree in Holland in social services with an emphasis on culture and community organizing.
Mr. Godfried served a four year term as president of the farmers’ cooperative of Curaçao, a subject matter he came back to in the last year of his life, when he diligently promoted agrarian reform as the Coordinator of the Plataforma Agrario Nashonal (PAN). . He worked with local Caribbean communities as an organizer and with labor unions throughout the region. He was directly responsible for organizing the recognition and celebration of the first rebellion in 1795 of enslaved Africans in Curaçao. MORE. For complete article, goto