Examining Cuba and its diaspora

By Barbara Gutierrez

Examining Cuba and its diaspora

By Barbara Gutierrez
The University of Miami’s Cuban Heritage Collection will host its third New Directions in Cuban Studies Conference.

More than 30 academics and graduate students will convene at the University of Miami on Oct. 17-18 to participate in the New Directions in Cuban Studies Conference hosted by the Cuban Heritage Collection (CHC).

The multidisciplinary event to be held at the Kislak Center in the Otto G. Richter Library on the Coral Gables campus will serve as a forum to disseminate the work of advanced graduate students and emerging scholars that survey the current research and findings on Cuba and its diaspora.

“It is with tremendous pride and enthusiasm that the Cuban Heritage Collection hosts the third New Directions in Cuban Studies Conferencea platform for critical thinking and the presentation of innovative scholarship in which students, junior scholars, and established academics learn from one another,” said Elizabeth Cerejido, CHC director and Esperanza Bravo de Varona chair.

For the first time in its history, the conference will encompass five themes: Visual and Performing Arts, Reframing Cuban Studies, Health, Science and the Environment, Emerging Technologies in Cuba, and Challenging Cuban Diasporas. Martin Tsang, CHC librarian and curator of Latin American Collections, said the conference is designed to allow graduate students and early career scholars to present their work alongside excellent Cuban studies academics, as well as top faculty from the University.

“This is a rare chance for academics on Cuba across a multitude of disciplines and interests to network and hopefully collaborate in the future,” he said.

Scholars include Carmen Torre Pérez from University of Pennsylvania who will speak on “Estetica de la (auto) destrucción identidades punk en Cuba” on the delayed rise of punk on the island, Jennifer Caroccio Maldonado from Rutgers University who will revisit the legacy of Cuban artist Ana Mendieta, and Jorge Felipe Gonzalez from Michigan State University who will discuss his paper in Reassessing the Slave Trade to Cuba (1790-1820).

Esther Whitfield from Brown University will offer the keynote address on Thursday.   

UM participants include Yolanda Martínez-San Miguel, Marta S. Weeks Chair in Latin American Studies and professor, Department of Modern Languages and Literatures; Lillian Manzor, associate professor, Department of Modern Languages and Literatures; Erica Moiah James, assistant professor, Department of Art and Art History; Daniel Suman, adjunct professor, Department of Marine Ecosystems and Society; and Sallie Hughes, associate professor, Department of Journalism and Media Management.

The conference is held every two years. The inaugural conference took place in 2014 and had the participation of 13 presenters. In 2016, the CHC held the second conference, which brought together 33 presenters and panelists.

The CHC is home to the most comprehensive collection of materials on Cuban outside of the island, and the largest repository of resources about the Cuban exile experience and the global Cuban diaspora anywhere. 

The conference is free to attend and open to the public. The keynote address and welcome reception will take place at 4 p.m. Thursday. To register and for more information on the conference, with full schedule, visit: https://www.library.miami.edu/chc/new-directions-conference.html