Category Archives: Upcoming Event


Wednesday, January 24, 4-6 PM
Skylight Room 
The Graduate Center, CUNY

Author and diplomat Herman Portocarero, former ambassador to Cuba from the European Union and Belgium

This conversatorio will draw heavily from the just published, Havana Without Makeup: Inside the Soul of the City by Herman Portocarero (Turtle Point Press, 2017; photography by Joaquin Portocarero). Illustrated with original photographs, this volume presents a unique account of Havana’s history, its present, and what its future may hold.

The story Portocarero weaves here is rich and fascinating, and vital to understanding an often mysterious place.Patrick Oppmann, CNN Havana Correspondent and Bureau Chief

Havana without Makeup, an insider’s view of Havana, offers a wide-ranging exploration of its many complex facets. It aims to capture the soul of a city and a society that have evolved on their own terms at the moment before they face inevitable transformations. Opening on the eve of the announcement of reconciliation between the U.S. and Cuba, the book then looks back at the cultural, political, economic, and religious influences that led up to this historic moment and beyond. Examining all things Cuban–racial issues, la revolución, baseball, Hemingway, communism, synagogues, Santeria, Cimarron culture, and much more–Portocarero overturns every stone in his endeavor to bring us inside the city he loves.


Herman Portocarero is a Belgian-born writer and diplomat of Spanish and Portuguese descent. He served twice as Ambassador to Cuba — representing Belgium in 1995-1999 and the European Union during 2012-2017. He has published more than twenty works of fiction and nonfiction, including the Hercule Poirot Prize-winning crime novel New Yorkse Nachten (New York Nights).


Jerry Carlson (Ph.D., University of Chicago) is Director of the Cinema Studies Program in the Department of Media & Communication Arts at The City College, CUNY. He is a specialist in narrative theory, global independent film, and the cinemas of the Americas. He is a member of the doctoral faculties of French, Film Studies and Comparative Literature at the Graduate Center, CUNY and a Senior Fellow at the Bildner Center.


Mauricio Font is director of the Bildner Center for Western Hemisphere Studies and Professor of Sociology at The Graduate Center and Queens College, CUNY. Professor Font’s most recent publication is The State and the Private Sector in Latin America (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015).



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Latin American Literary History: Continuities and Discontinuities

Thursday, Feb 8, 4-6 PM
Rooms 9206/07
The Graduate Center, CUNY

A discussion with Rolena Adorno and Roberto González Echevarría, authors of the recently published Breve historia de la literatura latinoamericana colonial y moderna (Madrid, 2017). The two parts of the Breve historia are hinged by Andrés Bello, the Venezuelan polymath, and range from Columbus to Bolaño, while devoting attention to authors rarely considered by the general public such as Felipe Guaman Poma de Ayala, Esteban Echeverría, and Severo Sarduy. The discussion will center on how various periods of Latin American literature engage each other and how current literature deals with the past and with literatures in other languages.

Rolena Adorno, Yale University

Roberto González Echevarría, Yale University


Regina Harrison, University of Maryland, College Park 

Araceli Tinajero, The Graduate Center, CUNY

Rolena Adorno (Ph.D., Cornell University) is Sterling Professor of Spanish at Yale University. Author of Colonial Latin American Literature: A Very Short Introduction (2011), De Guancane a Macondo: Estudios de literatura latinoamericana (2008), The Polemics of Possession in Spanish American Narrative (2007, 2014), Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca: His Account, His Life, and the Expedition of Pánfilo de Narváez, with Patrick Charles Pautz (1999), and Guaman Poma Writing and Resistance in Colonial Peru (1986, 2000). She is a member of the National Council on the Humanities of the NEH, an Honorary Professor at the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2015 Adorno received the Modern Language Association’s Award for Lifetime Scholarly Achievement.

Roberto González Echevarría (Ph.D., Yale) is the Sterling Professor of Hispanic and Comparative Literature at Yale. Ph.D.Yale, 1970, and among honorary doctorates one from Columbia in 2002. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. President Barack Obama bestowed on González Echevarría the National Humanities Medal in 2010. His Myth and Archive: A Theory of Latin American Narrative won awards from the MLA and LASA and I son its sixth edition.  He was awarded in 2014 the National Prize for Criticism by the Instituto Cubano del Libro for Lecturas y relecturas. In 2002 Fondo de Cultura published Crítica práctica/Práctica, and in 2005 Yale Press published Love and the Law in Cervantes. In 2014 the University of Minas Gerais issued Monstros e archivos, while in 2016 Yale Press brought out his edition of Cervantes’ Exemplary Novels, translated by Edie Grossman. He has written for The New York Times Review of BooksThe Wall Street JournalThe Village Voice, and The Nation. González Echevarría’s twenty-four lecture course on Cervantes’s Don Quijote is available through Yale Open Courses. His work has appeared in Spanish, English, French, German, Portuguese, Polish, Italian, Persian, and soon Chinese.

Regina Harrison (Ph.D., University of Illinois) is Professor Emerita of Spanish and Comparative Literatures, University of Maryland, College Park. Her scholarship combines the disciplines of literary studies and anthropology. She is author of Signs, Songs, and Memory in the Andes: Translating Quechua Language and Culture (University of Texas, 1989), which won the Modern Language Association’s Katherine Singer Kovacs Prize, and Entre el tronar épico y el llanto elegíaco (Quito, Ecuador; 1997). Her book Sin and Confession in Colonial Peru (University of Texas Press, 2014) was awarded the Bainton Prize in History from the Sixteenth-Century Society, and her DVD, Mined to Death, filmed with Quechua-speaker miners in Bolivia, was awarded LASA’s “Award of Merit in Film.”

Araceli Tinajero (Ph.D., Rutgers University) is Professor of Spanish at The Graduate Center and City College of New York, CUNY. She is the author of Orientalismo en el modernismo hispanoamericanoEl lector de tabaquería (Eng. El Lector: A History of the Cigar Factory Reader), and Kokoro, una mexicana en Japón. Professor Tinajero is the editor of Cultura y letras cubanas en el siglo XXIExilio y cosmopolitismo en el arte y la literatura hispánica, and Orientalisms of the Hispanic and Luso-Brazilian World.


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