Bildner Center » Events

Cuba: New Windows on the Past, New Directions for the Future

September 29, 2006 - 4:00 pm

Sujatha Fernandes, Queens College, CUNY
Kathleen López, Lehman College, CUNY

Moderator:
Mauricio Font, Bildner Center, The Graduate Center and Queens College, CUNY

Please join the Bildner Center for Western Hemisphere Studies in welcoming two new Cuba scholars to the City University of New York community. Presentations will be followed by a welcome reception.

Sujatha Fernandes will discuss her work on questions of governance, everyday culture, and social values in contemporary Cuba. The United States has tended to link the fate of the Cuban revolution heavily to the figure of Fidel Castro, but to what degree does revolutionary hegemony extend beyond the figure of Fidel? She will look at how ordinary Cubans have processed and reinterpreted socialist values during the “special period,” and the implications of this for Cuba’s future.

Kathleen López will examine how the Chinese presence sheds new light on important themes in Cuban history, such as the transition from slave to free labor during the colonial period and conceptions of the Cuban nation during the early republic. Today the Chinese remaining in Cuba and their descendants continue to define their role, given the state’s promotion of Chinese ethnic identity since the “special period” and the increasing involvement of China in the region.

Sujatha Fernandes is Assistant Professor of Sociology at Queens College, City University of New York. Her book, Cuba Represent! Cuban Arts, State Power, and the Making of New Revolutionary Cultures, is forthcoming with Duke University Press in October 2006. She is currently working on a new book, entitled In the Spirit of Negro Primero: Urban Social Movements in Chávez’s Venezuela.

Kathleen López is Assistant Professor of Latin American and Puerto Rican Studies at Lehman College, City University of New York. She is currently working on a book manuscript, Migrants between Empires and Nations: The Chinese in Cuba, that traces the experiences of the Chinese in Cuba from the period of indentured labor to the present day. In addition to Cuban social history, her research interests include the Chinese diaspora, international migration, and race and ethnicity in the Americas.