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Mette Berg, Diasporic Generations: Memory, Politics, and Nation among Cubans in Spain

greater Cuba, new book 1 Comment »

It is a great pleasure to present Mette Berg’s new book, Diasporic Generations: Memory, Politics, and Nation (Berghan Books 2011) among Cubans in Spain.  Many of us know  Mette either personally or through her articles, and have found her particular ethnographic  focus–Cubans residing in Spain–to greatly enrich the conventional centering of the diaspora around Miami.

from the publisher’s website:

“Highlighting key generational differences, dynamics and trajectories, Mette Louise Berg’s work adds an exceptionally significant approach to studies on diasporas and transnational migration. Her case study of Cubans in Spain also interestingly reflects deep changes in Cuban society over a number of decades. By way of developing a more comprehensive understanding of these topics, this book is essential reading for students and advanced scholars alike.”  ·  Steve Vertovec, Max-Planck-Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity

Mette Louise Berg’s work is a productive, insightful, and timely intervention in the study of the Cuban diaspora and other contemporary transnational movements…an original and substantial contribution to the scholarly literature on migration.  ·  Jorge Duany, University of Puerto Rico

…well-written and intelligent, and deals with the Cuban diaspora in Spain, about which little is known. The author excellently locates her study within interesting general literature on memory, homelands, nationalism, and diasporas…it is superb.”  ·  Susan Eckstein, Boston University

Interpretations of the background to the Cuban diaspora – a political revolution and the subsequent radical transformation of the society and economy towards socialism – are politicised and highly contested. The Miami-based Cuban diaspora has had extraordinary success in putting its case high on the US political agenda and in capturing world media attention, but in the process the multiplicity of experiences within the diaspora has been overshadowed. This book gives voice to diasporic Cubans living in Spain, the former colonial ruler of Cuba. By focusing on their lived experiences of displacement, the book brings to light imaginative, narrative re-creations of the nation from afar. Drawing on extensive ethnographic fieldwork, the book argues that the Cuban diaspora in Spain consists of three diasporic generations, generated through distinct migratory experiences. This constitutes an important step forward in understanding the dynamics of memory-making and social differentiation within diasporas, and in appreciating why people within the same diaspora engage in different modes of transnational practices and homeland relations.

Mette Louise Berg is a lecturer in the anthropology of migration at the University of Oxford. Her research focuses on memory, diaspora, transnationalism and intergenerational dynamics.

Table of Contents after the jump:

Read the rest of this entry »

Americas Media Initiative and the new documentary: “Freddy Ilanga: Che’s Swahili Translator” dir. by Katrin Hansing

By Paul Ryer, Ethnographic film No Comments »

I have recently been introduced to the Americas Media Initiative (AMI) – Cuba Media Project and have been particularly impressed with the documentaries they are distributing, from TV Serrana and elsewhere, for quite reasonable fees.  Indeed, fellow ethnographers and observers of contemporary Cuban culture, recent documentaries from rural and eastern Cuba such as Un Puente sobre el Rio (dir. Rigoberto Jiménez, 2009, 30 min) and on controversial topics, such as Raza (dir. Eric Corvalán Pellé, 2008, 35 min.) and Zona de Silencio (Karel Ducasse, 2007, 40 min.) on the topic of censorship, are absolutely worth watching, and since they are subtitled, great classroom resources as well.

And so it was with surprise that I recently received an announcement from A.M.I. on the release of the documentary, Freddy Ilanga: Che’s Swahili Translator, directed by anthropologist Katrin Hansing.  Have not yet been able to screen this myself, so here is A.M.I.’s description of the film:

In April 1965, Freddy Ilanga, a fifteen-year-old Congolese youth, became Che Guevara’s personal Swahili teacher and translator during the latter’s secret mission in the Congo to train anti-Mobutu rebels. After seven intense months by Che Guevara’s side, the Cuban authorities sent Freddy to Cuba. During his early years, Freddy thought that his stay in Cuba would be temporary. However, 40 years passed, during which time he lost all contact with his family and homeland. That is until 2003, when he received an unexpected phone call from Bukavu, his home town. His family had finally found him…

Che’s Swahili Translator is a documentary about Freddy Ilanga, an African man whose life was abruptly transformed through a chance encounter with one of the great icons of the 20th Century, and which has predominantly been determined by the power struggles of the Cold War and the Cuban Revolution. It is a story about migration and displacement and the high human costs of exile and family separation.

UPDATE: I have just been able to see Hansing’s film, and found it interesting.  While the initial framing has a lot to do with the politics which brought Ilanga to Cuba, it soon becomes a documentary of dislocation–even after 40 years, Freddy never discovered why he was sent to Havana!–and of the trauma of separation from family.  Interestingly, Freddy Ilanga describes the consequences of being rediscovered by his African family as also painful.  In any case, the film tells a ubiquitously Cuban story of migration and separation, albeit in reverse, with Cuba as the receivingrather than sending society. 

“Transnational Pilgrim,” José Bedia exhibit at the Fowler, UCLA

art, Calendar, Images No Comments »

Although we do not typically focus on the fine arts in the strict sense of the term, for those interested in–or struck by–boundary-crossing cultural productions, the work of Cuban and Cuban-American artists such as José Bedia may well be particularly compelling, and if you happen to be in the Los Angeles area this fall, this is an exhibition to investigate.  Opening Sept. 17th at the Fowler Museum with a conversation between Bedia and curators Judith Bettelheim and Janet Catherine Berlo, the exhibition will be on display from Sept. 18 through Jan. 8, 2012.  Here are two examples of Bedia’s work, courtesy of the Fowler Museum.  Above:  Pájaro que busca otro horizonte (The Bird Who Seeks Another Land), 1998, Acrylic on canvas, 231 x 414 cm, Berezdivin Collection, San Juan, Puerto Rico.  Below: Piango piango llega lejos (Step by Step You Can Go Far), 2000, Acrylic stain and oil pastel on canvas, Diam.: 245.4 cm, Collection of the Ackland Art Museum, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Ackland Fund, Photograph courtesy of Galeria Ramis Barquet, New York:

new book by Carlos Uxo

new book No Comments »

New book by Carlos Uxó González: Representaciones del personaje del negro en la narrativa cubana. Una
perspectiva desde los estudios subalternos
. Madrid: Verbum, 2010.

Partiendo de los parámetros teóricos del Grupo Latinoamericano de Estudios Subalternos, este libro se propone ilustrar los modos en que la narrativa cubana ha reflejado y contribuido a perpetuar el estatus subalterno de los afrocubanos. El libro ofrece un análisis de la trayectoria literaria cubana, culminando con la generación de los Novísimos, en la pasada década de los 90 y principios del siglo XXI. Como Uxó demuestra a través de una adaptación original y altamente sugerente de las contribuciones teóricas en el campo de la lingüística de Roman Jacobson, esta generación continúa excluyendo y subalternizando a los afrocubanos. Pero hasta alcanzar tal conclusión, Uxó llama la atención sobre la obra de autores como Martín Morúa Delgado, Lydia Cabrera, Alejo Carpentier, Manuel Granados y Novísimos como Amir Valle, Jesús Curbelo, Marcial Gala, Mylene Fernández, Alberto Garrido o Ronaldo Menéndez. De tal modo, y al mostrar los modos narrativos de representación que hacen que la voz del subalterno resulte inaudible, este libro claramente alcanza una de las metas que se proponía el Grupo Latinoamericano de Estudios Subalternos.

 

¡Venceremos? The Erotics of Black Self-making in Cuba by Jafari S. Allen

By Paul Ryer, Gender & sexuality, new book, Race 1 Comment »

It is a great pleasure to announce the forthcoming ¡Venceremos? The Erotics of Black Self-making in Cuba, by Jafari Sinclair Allen, Duke University Press.  Due out in August, 2011, here is the press’s  book description:

Promoting the revolutionary socialist project of equality and dignity for all, the slogan ¡Venceremos! (We shall overcome!) appears throughout Cuba, everywhere from newspapers to school murals to nightclubs. Yet the accomplishments of the Cuban state are belied by the stark inequalities apparent in the marginalization of blacks, the prejudice against sexual minorities, and gender inequities. ¡Venceremos? is a groundbreaking ethnography on race, desire, and belonging among black Cubans in the early twenty-first-century, as the nation opens its economy to global capital. Expanding on Audre Lorde’s vision of embodied, even “useful,” desire, Jafari S. Allen shows how black Cubans engage in acts of “erotic self-making,” reinterpreting, transgressing, and potentially transforming racialized and sexualized interpellations of their identities. He illuminates intimate spaces of autonomy created by people whose multiply subaltern identities have rendered them illegible to state functionaries, and to most scholars. In everyday practices, events, and sites in Havana and Santiago de Cuba—including Santeria rituals, gay men’s parties, hip hop concerts, the tourist-oriented sex trade, lesbian organizing, HIV education, and just hanging out—Allen highlights small but significant acts in struggles for autonomy and dignity.

Congratulations to Dr. Allen, and stay posted for an update once the book is available.  I, for one, look forward to seeing the analytic of Cuban erotics move beyond the classic 19th century frame of Kutzinski’s Sugar’s Secrets, and into the present day!

Activating The Past—event and edited volume

By Paul Ryer, History, new book No Comments »

Now that I am wrapping up teaching–over 1,000 students this year!–what better way to get back to scholarly work than to attend the launch of a volume showcasing Cuba and providing the opportunity to meet, or catch up with, contributors and editors.

The book, Activating The Past: Historical Memory in the Black Atlantic World, Cambridge Scholars Press, 2010, is edited by Andrew Apter and Robin Derby.  Perhaps because it is not yet available in paper, it may not be familiar to some readers, but it should be, since many of the essays prominently place Cuban history and ethnography within an inter-Atlantic conversation.  Thus, for instance, the first chapter, by Stephan Palmié: “Ekpe/Abakuá in Middle Passage: Time, Space and Units of Analysis in African American Historical Anthropology.”  There are also Cuba-centered chapters by art historian  Judith Bettelheim, “Espiritismo Altars in Puerto Rico and Cuba: The Indian and the Congo,” and Carrie Viarnes, “Muñecas and Memoryscapes: Negotiating Identity and History in Cuban Espiritismo.”  Surely, however, the broader value of the volume is in (re)emplacing Cuba within wider currents, histories, and movements.

As an event, the launch (at UCLA’s African Studies Center) provided an opportunity to speak with Professors Apter and Derby, as well as Judith Bettelheim and several other contributors.  I was particularly struck by Professor Bettelheim’s description of the way in which her chapter built from one particularly startling archived photograph (see Activating The Past, p. 299), circa 1860, in which two performers are wearing feathered headdresses.  Clearly, art historians are very, very skilled at image analysis, and perhaps we ethnographers would be well advised to study those methods or collaborate with art historians in some contexts.  In any case, get your library to order this book, and take a look at it.

 

Chronicle of Lisbon’s Workshop on Afro-Cuban religion (4/20/2011)

By Grete Viddal, Conferences & CFPs, Religion 2 Comments »

Grete Viddal presenting at the top of the table

I just returned from the 2nd Workshop on Afro-Cuban Religion held at the Instituto de Ciências Sociais (ICS) in Lisbon, Portugal. The theme for this meeting was “Creativity, improvisation and innovation in Afro-Cuban religion.” The event was organized by Ana Stela Cunha and Diana Espirito Santo, currently post-docs at the ICS and CRIA (Centre for Research in Social Anthropology), respectively.

A dozen scholars of Cuban religion gathered for two days to share work in progress, debate ideas, talk theory, practice, and participation, and network. Many participants were at the dissertation-writing stage or post-docs, and established scholars also attended. Discussants from ICS, Universidade de Lisboa, and Universidade Nova de Lisboa provided thoughtful feedback.

Participants included scholars from the US, Portugal, Spain, Cuba, Greece, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Brazil, and Colombia. We spoke in English and Spanish, sometimes switching between languages mid-sentence during Q & A.

The delights of Lisbon pulled us in during evenings, as we ate wonderful food and quaffed mojitos and caipirinas in a friendly, lively, bohemian city with picturesque neighborhoods and charming architecture.

Lia Pozzi, Andrea Antonelli, Anastasios Panagiotopoulos, Katerina Kerestetzi, Géraldine Morel, Diana Espirito Santo, and Jalane Schmidt in an Alafama neighborhood cafe

Panels included: (see below)

Read the rest of this entry »

A review of PBS “Black in Latin America. Cuba: the Next Revolution”

By M.E.Diaz, media, Race, Reviews, Video - lecture and discussion 6 Comments »

Watch the full episode. See more Black in Latin America.

(You can view the entire episode by going to the PBS website)

Just this week, PBS has been showing a series on race in Latin America. This is Prof. Maria Elena Díaz’s very illuminating review of the Cuba episode:

The story begins with slavery & sugar, the 10 years war (with a slightly inaccurate and very rosy take on Cespedes and this war–you may take a look at the Cespedes’ manifesto (in Chomsky et als’ Cuba Reader) it is very problematic–there is actually no abolition of slavery, Cespedes is very careful on this controversial issue, at most grants a very limited gradual abolition with very problematic terms on how a slave can even join the liberation army, no freedom to do so, etc).

The program covers  the war of Independence through, of course, a bit of Marti (and his ideology compressed into the phrase “we are all Cubans”) and particularly less well known  issues around the figure of Maceo (a few bites with NYU Professor Ada Ferrer). Then a bunch of history compressed on the iconic “Maine” explosion (perhaps because there is the tangible monument). The interview with this historian (Iglesias?) is not too enlightening, frankly. They could have pulled anyone from the street to say that. These bites try to compress Louis Perez’s book <The War of 1898> and miss quite a bit, but ok, it was mostly background and perhaps it did not want to alienate a North American audience too much, particularly these days when similar adventures are being played out in other latitudes. The occupation and new segregation policies introduced during the occupation are mentioned (missing the white diplomatic corps, though) and the compliciteness of the white elite with these policies is noted.  The Platt Amendment is not mentioned,  which is quite basic, but the narrator pointed out  there had been de facto colonialism (“from Spain to the US,” he said, to put it softly).  It mentioned the white/Spanish immigration and the full emphasis on “whitening”  which it could have contextualized a bit better by framing it in  the greater turn of the century trend of “whitening”  as part of the wider scientific racism, eugenics and the idea of “whiteness” as “progress and civilization”–going on elsewhere in L.A. (Brazil being the best known case in L.A. but elsewhere too–not to speak of course Europe and US as the emblems of modernity and progress to be imitated). It could have emphasized the universal male suffrage guaranteed in the Constitution of 1901 that became an  element  in the self-definition of the new Republic as a “racial democracy,” a claim that was challenged by  Yvonette and the Partido Independiente de Color. It dedicated a good number of bites to the important Race war of 1912 and showed the brutal cartoons that illustrates the political unconscious of the time.

The  periodization then moves to the 1920s noting that it represented the beginning to the move toward greater acceptance of “black” music and cultural traditions previously marginalized, when not outrightly persecuted . It could have explained that this coincided with broader emergent nationalist trends  throughout L.A, in the interwar period. It touches on the famous story of Machado’s birthday event as a kind of lithmus test of how far black music or culture (i.e. the son) had become accepted in power circles at the time. Perhaps it could have mentioned Guillen, and Wilfredo Lam, as the show cases in “high culture” in Cuba during the following years, but it focused on popular culture, and that is just fine. It also runs through this period with some interviews with soneros and some pretty bold footage of some carnival scenes (backed by the state in the 1930s for commercial purposes) that might not be altogether accurate.

The film rightly mentions the decree to end discrimination in the public sector in the 1940s, but did not mention that, contrary to the Const of 1901, this one was explicitly guaranteed in the social democratic Constitution of 1940. (The question of implementation is a separate one.) It could have covered more about the black organizations and clubs operating throughout this period, those would have been nice memories to recover from informants, but the program sticks to the script of what are pretty much commonplaces in the academic research by now– it does not engage in any original research as mentioned above. for the 1950s, it notes the usual common places (Batista, mafia, tourism, etc); puts a good light on black participation in the 26th of July Movement by using Comandante Dreke as narrator.  Chailloux got too emotional on the Literacy Campaign and that prevented her from speaking more eloquently (Gates has to pull out the words from her), but her tears were eloquent of that moment too. It highlights as well Fidel Castro’s declaration against discrimination (I think 1960), and then moves on to the issue of economic and social advancement and rights–the infrastructure and superstructure line that becomes emblematic of the Revolution’s position on race (and represented as well through the figures of Dreke and Chailloux). I thought it covered the debacle of the special period effectively as well as the effects of the dual economy, the greater access to dollar paying jobs by white sectors. (It skipped throughout the waves of emigration and exile).The discussion on the lingering of racial prejudice in Cuba that has been recently exacerbated  by new global factors is actually tame.

Overall, I thought the program was very good and quite restrained. I suppose it will be shown in Cuba at some point. I wonder about  reactions to it  in the island and in Miami–a reception study of some kind would be nice.

In Defense of the Fulbright-Hayes

By Ariana Hernandez-Reguant, U.S. academia No Comments »

Unlike the Fulbright, the Fulbright-Hayes, of the US Dept of Education, supported research in Cuba, and a number of graduate students in the past conducted dissertation research there thanks to this fellowship. Also unlike the NSF, which wavered over the years and often refused to consider any proposal in Cuba, the Fulbright Hayes was unequivocal in its support for our academic work.

The new budget proposes to slash it. Please sign this petition asking your Congress and Senate representatives to reconsider.

Thank you

http://www.congressweb.com/cweb2/index.cfm/siteid/NHA/action/TakeAction.Main

Radio Marti versus NPR

By Ariana Hernandez-Reguant, media 3 Comments »

While NPR’s federal funding is in jeopardy, support for Radio Marti and the Voice of America seems guaranteed. The bill proposing to eliminate the 64 million dollars that the government would have devoted to NPR’s operations passed in Congress and is waiting for the Senate.  While newscasters and bloggers seem divided across Party lines concerning public broadcasting, with Republicans generally advocating its elimination, nobody seems to remember the U.S. international broadcasts, which receive over 700 million dollars annually.

The Broadcasting Board of Governors, which is the agency that oversees U.S. international broadcasts -including the Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, and Radio and TV Marti- has just submitted a 2012 budget for almost 800 million. It does include cuts in certain areas, but leaves the Cuba program pretty much intact. For instance, the Croatian and Chinese broadcasts of the Voice of America are entirely eliminated. Croatians no longer live under Communism, and the Chinese public is known to prefer the internet for news and information.

The budget includes a modest 28 million dollars for the Office of Cuba Broadcasting, which is in charge of both Radio and TV Marti.  Interestingly, about 16 million of these are for salaries and benefits for the 151 employees, which means that a job at these stations is a good prospect… if you can get it (nepotism is an issue, according to an “unclassified but sensitive” audit conducted in 2007 by the U.S. State Department.)

A lingering problem for Radio and TV Marti is the dubious number of listeners and viewers that these stations reach within Cuba. According to their own surveys, included in the budget document, less than 2% of respondents would acknowledge listening to Marti at least once a week. When I lived there in the second half of the nineties, I was only able to listen to it once, when I had the flu and someone lent me a short-wave radio to entertain me. Apparently, people massively listened to it during the 1994 Balsero crisis because the station provided information on those who reached U.S. shores, but after that the audience dwindled, most dramatically among urban youth. Its programs were old-fashioned, but most importantly, as old transistors were phased out, they were replaced with modern radio sets lacking a short-wave tuner. As for TV Marti, I was never able to tune it in, nor did I ever meet anyone who did.

If that is the case, how to justify depriving millions of Americans across the country from public programming while throwing away expensive international broadcasts? Perhaps a realignment would be in order. Beam Marti North rather than South and democratize its programming. It would be great to have public stations in Spanish for the entire country, and they could keep their name as well as their Cuba news and music for all to enjoy.

Radio and TV Marti’s web address is http://www.martinoticias.com/noticias/ and both stations can be tuned in live through their webpage.

P.S.  Incidentally, it was announced today that the BBC is cutting its short-wave broadcasts in Spanish to Cuba, along with a lot of its international programming.

FOLLOW UP:

A few days after we published this post, and Cubanencuentro kindly linked it, the Council on Hemospheric Affairs, picked up the issue and wrote a well-researched piece. Subsequently, there has been a domino effect and legislation is being presented in the House and the Senate.

-The Council on Hemispheric Affairs followed up n agreement as evident here.

– The blog Penultimos Dias reported on an investigation on the hefty compensation paid by Radio Marti to various individuals, including well known academics, for their collaboration.

– April 10th: Truthout.org agrees that “While House Republicans showed no difficulties in placing National Public Radio (NPR) on the chopping block in mid-March, they have overlooked conservative pet projects that are far more costly, of lower quality, and ineffective. Two such projects are the anti-Castro broadcasts Radio and TV Martí…”

– April 12th: For the conservative blog Capitol Hill Cubans linking NPR to Radio Marti “is absurd”.

New documentary film on the 1961 Literacy Campaign

By Ariana Hernandez-Reguant, Cinema 3 Comments »

The producers are looking for SoCal venues to screen it in April:

The film features Norma Guillard talking about her coming of age in the Literacy Campaign as a young woman of 15 who left home to work in the countryside as a literacy teacher, una maestra. Norma is a Cuban social and clinical psychologist, a university professor, a scholar and activist. She works primarily on the issues of gender, race, sexual orientation, and issues of diversity and identity in a Cuban and Caribbean context, and is one of the first Cuban women of her generation to call herself a feminist. Guillard will be in the US in March and April to publicize this documentary on the 1961 Cuban literacy campaign that organized over 100,000 youth to teach illiterate citizens to read and write. Catherine Murphy produced and filmed the documentary.

For more info. you might download the production notes, or go to www.maestrathefilm.org, to theliteracyproject.org and/or email kathleen.rubin at gmail.com

El Espacio Aglutinador: A documentary-in-progress

art, By Ariana Hernandez-Reguant 2 Comments »

“The Art of Survival” is a documentary in progress on Sandra Ceballos’  Espacio Aglutinador; a space where so many censored and marginalized artists have been able to exhibit for the past seventeen years. It features what seems to be a promising interview with Glexis Novoa, and I look forward to one with Ezequiel Suárez. The documentary director is an artist himself, from New Jersey, called James Rauchman, who has a series of hyperrealist paintings on, among other topics, Cuban santeria. My only objection to this film is the music (not credited: Is that Philip Glass at 7’40? Then Orishas!).Here’s the trailer:

(thanks to Jorge Mata for the link)

Valentine’s Day in Havana. Dinner: 25 CUCs

By Ariana Hernandez-Reguant, Consumption & material culture 1 Comment »

(Thank you to Glexis Novoa for sending it)

Chronicles of New York City Rumba (I)

By Berta Jottar, greater Cuba, music, traditions and folklore 10 Comments »

With this chronicle, EthnoCuba begins a new section, at the care of Berta Jottar, PhD

NYC: Sunday, February 13, 2011; 38 degrees, mostly cloudy.

Rumba is an Afro-Cuban performance culture characterized by its percussive music, dance and song; its main stylistic forms are the Columbia, the Yambú and the Guaguancó. Outside its native Cuba, New York City’s international metropolitan area is rumba’s second home with at least three rumbas open to the public every weekend.

This week, the rumba route begins on Friday, February 11th, at El Fogón Center for the Arts (point A on the map below); an alternative cultural center in the Bronx.

El Fogón’s rumba is ran by “Pupi” Felix Insua, former member of the mythical Cuban ensemble Yoruba Andabo, and current director of Oriki Omi Oddara. At El Fogón Victorian’ style room, the rumba has an international flair and is accompanied by good wine and friendly patrons. It is always a pleasure to see Pupi perform: he distills knowledge at both the kinesthetic and lyrical levels. El Fogón’s is not an open rumba, (a rumba where the amateur musician can seat and play the drum) but a rumba cerrá, a closed rumba where only those privileged musicians who know the rules of rumba and know that si no sabes, no te metas are allowed to participate. In Pupi’s rumba, you can hear the latest trends in rumba warapachanguera –the latest Havana style, both interpreted the Cuban way and recreated in pan Afro-Latino terms.

The Insua family, Pupi and his virtuoso songs (Stanley and Steve), share El Fogón’s stage mano a mano with local young New York City virtuosos, members of professional groups, like Caja Dura and Ilu Ayé, who are fluent not only in rumba, but in bomba and palo as well. Two new voices stand out: Yomara and Yadel; both young women who master the rumba columbia, the countryside style of Congo origin, rarely sung by women.

On Fridays, El Fogón becomes a rumba lab for hard-core rumber@s as well as for those wanting to learn. You know you are at a great rumba when you see Pupi tirar un pie… See the video below:

On Saturday, we continue our rumba journey to La Esquina Habanera in Union City, New Jersey (see point C on the map). Inaugurated by Tony Sequeira, a rafter who arrived to Union City with a vision and “plantó”; La Esquina is the corner where Afro-Cuban culture from both sides of the river meets. Read the rest of this entry »

EthnoCuba featured on U. Chicago’s Center for Latin American Studies site

academic exchanges, Blogs, By Paul Ryer, News and Views 1 Comment »

In a new post, “The Past and Future of US_Cuba Academic Exchange,” the University of Chicago’s Center for Latin American Studies showcases EthnoCuba:

US-Cuba policy experts have likened the new regulations to Cuba travel policies under the administration of Bill Clinton. During this period, a generous grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation allowed CLAS to administer a program of scholarly exchange between Chicago faculty and graduate students, and scholars at the University of Havana, as well as other universities and cultural institutions in Cuba. Many of those who participated in the program went on to make significant contributions to the field, based on the research they conducted and scholarly connections that they formed as participants in the program.

Among them are cultural anthropologist Ariana Hernández-Reguant, now on the faculty of the School of Communications at UC San Diego, who writes on ideology, media, and cultural production in Cuba, and Paul Ryer, a professor in the Department of Anthropology at UC Riverside, who studies Cuban culture and the African migrant communities on the island. Today, Hernández-Reguant and Ryer co-edit a collective blog, Etnocuba, where Cuba scholars discuss research in the field, their experiences on the island, and the latest happenings in Cuba and in the international Cuban community.

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