Audrey Charlton (Columbia U Ph.D., studied Jamaican and Haitian communities in central Cuba)
Dale Bretches (UCSD Ph.D., studied economic reforms of the socialist system)
David Forrest (UCL Ph.D., studied masculinity, gender & identity in Havana)
Please add updates/feel free to add more names here or in comments, thanks. –PR
Update: Thanks, Matthew, for the info about Audrey Charlton. Also, does anyone know the whereabouts of Canadian medical anthropologist Tracey Spack, who completed a Cuba-based Ph.D., “Medicine in the special period : treatment-seeking behaviors in post-Soviet Cuba,” in 2000 or 2001?
¿Qué esconden quienes rehúsan fotos y entrevistas? ¿A qué temen quienes aluden a disposiciones y autorizos para impedir que periodistas y fotógrafos de nuestros medios de prensa ofrezcan informaciones?
¿Cómo trabajar en un diario y lograr así la inmediatez; cómo hacer del derecho a la información una realidad cotidiana?
Ante tales interrogantes podrían aparecer unas cuantas respuestas, esgrimidas quizás por los mismos que creen que la prensa revolucionaria no posee suficiente inteligencia y no puede asumir responsablemente lo publicado, amén de lo objetivo y subjetivo que sazona la realidad cubana.
Incumplen, además, la resolución del Buró Político, emitida en el 2007 para incrementar la eficacia informativa de los medios de comunicación, la cual establece que “salvo el secreto militar y estatal, nadie tiene derecho a negarnos información”.
Iñigo Sánchez, doctor en antropologia por la Universidad de Barcelona, me manda via Facebook el link a su tesis doctoral sobre música e identidad entre los residentes cubanos de Barcelona. La tesis se puede descargar gratuitamente en .pdf en la pagina web del CSIC (AQUI)
Somehow, despite the relatively small community of anthropologists working on some aspect of contemporary Cuba, this book has not received proper recognition. Whether this was a subfield-derived oversight, a question of timing or some other factor, Primary Health Care in Cuba: The Other Revolution, by Linda Whiteford and Laurence Branch, Rowman & Littlefield 2008, is now available on paperback. With only 117 pages of text, the book provides a succinct overview of the Cuban health system from a critical medical anthropology perspective. Although clearly not as ethnographically rich as the work of P. Sean Brotherton and other specialists, and although a number of topics (such as the Cuban response to HIV/AIDS, or to the public health elements of state responses to “natural” disasters) are not given the space they deserve, this book would be accessible for an undergraduate course or course segment on contemporary Cuba and its distinctive health system. While it is appropriately academic rather than polemic, the text paints an image of the Cuban health system sharply more positive than Katherine Hirschfeld’s, and it is not surprising that Hirschfeld’s review–like her book, presented as ethnographically authoritative–is scathing in its critique of the book’s lack of political critique. Controversially–and to my mind in a rather tacked-on manner, given the scope of the volume–she also points to the authors’ omission of political dissidence as a major gap in their overview of a health care system.
Robin Moore once suggested to me that a history of anthropology in Cuba–from its 19th century roots through the Revolution, as practiced by Cuban and international scholars alike–would be an extraordinary study, and I do see how this would be a fascinating, multi-faceted project. In any case, one crucial moment for such a history is surely provided by the case of Oscar Lewis and his team of “anthropologists.” I put “anthropologists” in quotes because whether or not they were spies, the Lewises were certainly more acting as oral historians than anthropologists in their Cuban project; methodologically their team was far, far from an ethnographic approach.
More recently, I came across this obscure article, by one Maurice Halperin, who apparently was a disaffected O.S.S. (i.e. C.I.A.) officer who lived and taught in Havana from 1962-1968, and who seemingly–as described in his article–had a personal role in the events surrounding the Oscar & Ruth Lewis affair. Regardless of one’s read of that event, and despite the clear biases of the author (who seems so anti-revolutionary that one simply must wonder just how “disaffected” he really was with the U.S. intelligence apparatus even if he did teach at la Universidad de La Habana!) it might be interesting to add this perspective to the far more pro-Revolutionary voices of Douglas Butterworth and Ruth Lewis themselves. But to give Halperin ANY credibility, I think we need to know more about his scholarship. So, who was this Maurice Halperin? Has anyone heard of him, or know Return to Havana or anything else he’s written? What was his field? What did he teach in Havana? I know some of us have met Cubans who worked with the Lewises, have you ever meet anyone in Cuba who knew Halperin?
Ed. note (Paul Ryer): I was fortunate to take a class with María del Carmen Barcia, a professor of history at the University of Havana, and am thrilled to see that she is one of two scholars to whom this year’s feria del libro is dedicated. In addition to the scholarship for which she is being recognized here, I can add that Prof. Barcia is a fabulous teacher, with a nuanced yet rigorous approach to historical materials, and although she has high expectations of students in the classroom, she is also personally warm and without the inflated ego of so many successful academics. So well deserved… ¡Felicidades, Profesora!
La 19ª Feria Internacional del Libro, Cuba 2010, se realizará del 11 al 21 de febrero en La Habana bajo el lema Leer es crecer. Estará dedicada a los autores María del Carmen Barcia, Premio Nacional de Ciencias Sociales 2003, y Reynaldo González Zamora, Premio Nacional de Literatura 2003. En esta edición, el País Invitado de Honor será Rusia….