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Anthropological Collections in Cuban Museums

Anthropological institutions, By Ariana Hernandez-Reguant, Journals 3 Comments »

I am not aware of any Museum of Anthropology in Cuba [other than the Montané Anthropological Museum in Havana, as Joaquin Estrada Montalván reminds me].* There are several museums that house artifacts related to folklore and religion, like the Guanabacoa Museum, the slave past, like the Museo de la Ruta del Esclavo in Matanzas, or African traditions, like the Museo de la Casa de Africa. Then, there are museums that are dear to cultural anthropologists, like the Museum of the Battle of Ideas, located in Cárdenas (reviewed by Michelle Tisdell in Museum Anthropology two years ago). Today’s Granma paper mentions the personal collection of noted Cuban anthropologist Manuel Rivero de la Calle (author of books and articles on Cuba’s indigenous populations and cultures) in an unlikely museum context, as ironically notes Emilio Ichikawa’s blog. Read on:

granweb229d

La Habana, viernes 22 de enero de 2010. Año 14 / Número 22

Aniversario del Museo de la Marcha del Pueblo Combatiente

El museo de la Marcha del Pueblo Combatiente, en La Habana, arriba a su noveno aniversario, con un grupo de actividades que se desarrollarán el lunes próximo.

Fundado el 25 de enero de 2002, el nombre del Museo perpetúa la primera Marcha del Pueblo Combatiente por la Quinta Avenida, en el municipio de Playa, realizada el 19 de abril de 1980, como respuesta a los hechos vandálicos ocurridos días antes en la sede de la embajada del Perú, donde resultó muerto Pedro Ortiz Cabrera, combatiente del Ministerio del Interior.

El museo exhibe una importante y bien seleccionada muestra de los mejores pintores cubanos de varios siglos, junto a las evidencias históricas de la localidad.

Destacan entre sus colecciones, los restos fósiles colectados por el antropólogo Manuel Rivero de La Calle, en la Cueva de Lamas, en Santa Fe. (AIN)

*The Montané Anthropological Museum at the University of Havana is devoted mostly to pre-Hispanic artifacts. In his comment (below) Joaquin Estrada also mentions other collections that I was not aware of.

P.S.  I read in OPUS HABANA that just last week the 14th Taller de Antropología Social y Cultural Afroamericana took place in the Museo de la Ruta del Esclavo.

A Cuban Indian Cacique Makes the News

By Ariana Hernandez-Reguant, Journals No Comments »

When we all thought that Cuba’s indigenous population had been wiped up, turns out we were wrong. In a Miami-based blog (El Lugareño), I read the news that an authentic Indian cacique and traditional healer from Guantanamo province visited Camaguey city to attend an art opening which recreates his ancestral culture. I reproduce below the original news from the Camagüey daily paper “Adelante“:

En Camaguey, “cacique” de descendientes de aborígenes

Viernes, 18 de Diciembre de 2009 14:48

Adolfo Silva Silva

Camagüey, (AIN) Francisco Ramírez Rojas, considerado como el “cacique” de una comunidad guantanamera de descendientes de aborígenes, expresó satisfacción por su visita a Camagüey, invitado a participar en un foro cultural.

Residente en La Ranchería, de Caridad de los Indios, Ramírez asistirá hoy por la noche a la apertura de una muestra de obras de la plástica que insertan elementos de arte primitivo, como pictografías e ideografías. Los autores son el canadiense James K-M y los camagüeyanos Joel Jover y Osmany Soler.

En su primera estancia en Camagüey, el campesino guantanamero, de 74 años de edad, añadió en el diálogo el orgullo por provenir de primitivos habitantes de la Isla.

El interlocutor destacó también su adhesión a las ideas de Martí, de la Revolución, y reiteró el agradecimiento a todas las personas e instituciones que han divulgado la existencia de descendientes de indocubanos y los han apoyado.

Compositor e intérprete en la esfera de la música, incluido el Changüí, ejerce prácticas de curación basadas en el legado de sus ancestros.

Nieto de un mambí y presidente del Comité de Defensa de la Revolución en su comunidad, Ramírez acotó que en ese asentamiento solo quedan poco más de 30 personas, a causa de una fuerte migración, extendida incluso a lugares tan distantes de allí, como Matanzas.

Apenas hay en la zona 11 casas, puntualizó el entrevistado, hombre locuaz que se expresa con la pasiones marcadas por la gestualidad, y la inflexión en el habla.

Ramírez vino acompañado por Idalis, uno de sus 10 hijos, y evocó además a los doctores Antonio Núñez Jiménez, y Manuel Rivero de la Calle (camagüeyano), por su promoción y presencia en los estudios para confirmar la citada descendencia de aborígenes.

In Today’s Granma, a commentary of interest to ethnographers

By Ariana Hernandez-Reguant, Journals No Comments »

Periodismo con fobias

Katia Siberia García

¿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”.

Read the rest of this entry »

NADINE FERNANDEZ GOT TENURE!

By Paul Ryer, Journals No Comments »

Please join us in congratulating Nadine Fernandez, who has recently received tenure at Empire State College.  While the outmoded notion of “being there first” is both uncomfortable and factually suspect, as many of us know, Nadine has  certainly been a trailblazer for ethnographic work in post-Soviet Cuba.  For instance, when I began to plan to work in Cuba, my then-adviser R.T. Smith was initially highly skeptical.  He did not think it would be possible to do substantive research within the Republic, and only when I was able to say: “But Mr. Smith, a UC Berkeley graduate student has just come back from two years of fieldwork in Havana,” his attitude shifted just enough to proceed.  Perhaps others have similar stories, but in any case, it is certain that Nadine has also been a consistently generous, patient, and unpretentious colleague in the years since, and her tenure is welcome and well-deserved news indeed.  Hip Hip, Hooray for Nadine!

Also, look for Nadine’s book, Revolutionizing Romance: Interracial Couples in Contemporary Cuba, due to be published by Rutgers University Press in early 2010!

News from S. Africa: 2009 documentary by Katrin Hansing

Ethnographic film, Journals 1 Comment »

Just received the following from Africanist colleague Derick Fay, “photographed off the wall of the theatre in the Grahamstown Festival”:

KH_documentary_2009

Katrin has written a brief eulogy for Freddy, who recently passed away, which seems to indicate that his death had forstalled the documentary.  At least this short version is circulating; if anyone has a link to screening/distribution/reviews, please share a quick comment.

LISA MAYA KNAUER GOT TENURE!!!

Journals, Notes & Queries 4 Comments »

EthnoCuba congratulates one of the first in our generation of ethnographers to receive tenure. She’s now a tenured professor at the anthropology department in the University of Massachussets at Darmouth.

She recently published a fantastic article entitled “Audiovisual Remittances” in the Ariana Hernandez-Reguant’s “Cuba in the Special Period”. Knauer’s article is both ethnographic and theoretical, and revolves around the video letters (which she calls video remittances) that circulate between Havana and New York City (and viceversa) among rumba enthusiasts. She looks at how these documents contribute to a transnational community of both dance and feeling.

Congratulations Lisa!

CHALLENGES OF THE RACIAL PROBLEM IN CUBA by Esteban Morales Domínguez

Journals, new book, Race, Universidad de La Habana 1 Comment »

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.[1]

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 .

EUGENE GODFRIED RIP

Journals, obituary 2 Comments »

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 http://afrocubaweb.com/eugenegodfried/eugenegodfried.htm


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  http://afrocubaweb.com/eugenegodfried/eugenegodfried.htm

The Pork Pirates of Hialeah

Journals, Miami 2 Comments »

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Dear ethnographers, here’s an article from today’s Miami New Times about the pirate hog farms of Hialeah (yes, the Special Period traveled north). You might enjoy the vignette about killing the pig with an old Soviet-era gun, or the part about neighbors accusing each other of police informants… (la historia no tiene desperdicio)

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