University Libraries welcome Roberto C. Goizueta Distinguished Presidential Fellow to the Cuban Heritage Collection

Creative, University Libraries, 07-12-2023

Odette Casamayor-Cisneros to serve as inaugural fellow for the newly established Goizueta Distinguished Presidential Residence Program.
Odette Casamayor-Cisneros, inaugural Roberto C. Goizueta Distinguished Presidential Fellow. Photo: Courtesy of University of Pennsylvania


The University Libraries are pleased to welcome Odette Casamayor-Cisneros as the inaugural Roberto C. Goizueta Distinguished Presidential Fellow for the Cuban Heritage Collection, effective September 1, 2023. Professor Casamayor-Cisneros is an accomplished scholar and writer with more than 20 years of transnational experience researching and teaching Caribbean, Afro-Latin American, and Afro-Latinx cultural production and epistemologies. She currently is on the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania, where she is an associate professor in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese and an affiliated faculty member in the Department of Africana Studies and the Center for Latin American and Latinx Studies.

Odette’s main charge as the Goizueta Distinguished Presidential fellow is to conduct in-depth research on a project of scholarly or artistic merit based on a particular area or areas of the Cuban Heritage Collection. She is also responsible for developing programming that engages with the University and greater public, including delivering public lectures and organizing panel discussions or performances.

Odette’s research at the Cuban Heritage Collection aims to advance the work required to complete her book, “On Being Blacks: Self-Identification and Counterhegemonic Knowledge in Contemporary Afro-Cuban Cultural Production,” which is the first ethical-aesthetic study of racial self-definition processes by contemporary Black Cuban visual and performing artists. Regular access to the Collection’s invaluable archives will allow her to thoroughly study the relentless misconstruction of Blackness, as well as the struggle of Black Cubans, through socio-political engagement and the enaction of epistemological marronage. Her research on Afro-Latin American cultural studies has been sponsored by the Rockefeller Foundation, and she was awarded the Wilbur Marvin Visiting Scholarship at the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies at Harvard University.

Odette will be in residence at the Collection through May 31, 2024. At the conclusion of her service as Roberto C. Goizueta Distinguished Presidential Fellow, she will return to her roles in teaching and research at the University of Pennsylvania.

Professor Casamayor-Cisneros earned a Ph.D. in arts and literatures from the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (School of Advanced Studies in Social Sciences) in Paris, France. She also holds a master’s degree in language science from the same institution. She completed her undergraduate degree in journalism at the University of Havana in Cuba.

Odette Casamayor-Cisneros can be reached at