Author Examines Cuban TV’s Remarkable History

By Peter E. Howard, UM News

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Historian Yeidy M. Rivero credits the CHC for igniting her passion for examining commercial television in Cuba.

An imposing figure who liked the sound of his own voice, the uniform-clad revolutionary frequently promoted his political objectives on television. Sometimes his speeches went on for as long as eight hours, without a commercial break.When he came to power in Cuba in 1959, Fidel Castro wasted little time taking to the airwaves.

At the time, the television stations were privately owned, and it wasn’t until a year to 18 months later that the government took over. It knew the power of the medium back then, and used it to its advantage.

“Castro was marketing the revolution,” said Yeidy M. Rivero, author of the book Broadcasting Modernity, which examines the history of commercial television in Cuba from 1950 to 1960. “He was very charismatic, and he used it perfectly well.”

Rivero, a professor at the University of Michigan, was at the University of Miami’s Otto G. Richter Library Wednesday night to talk about her book, and engage the audience gathered in the Cuban Heritage Collection’s Roberto C. Goizueta Pavilion in a discussion about the birth of commercial television in Cuba during a period of political and economic upheaval.

It was a homecoming of sorts for the historian. Rivero credits the research she did at the Cuban Heritage Collection at UM Libraries for igniting her passion for the project. From day one, she recalled, she was provided a daily cafecito to enjoy – “with plenty of sugar.”

“I feel like this is part of my family,” Rivero shared.

Cuba’s history with television is remarkable, with the island nation at the cutting edge of production and programming from the beginning. Talented employees helped advance the products. Some fled Cuba because of the instability, enriching television production in other Latin American countries, including Venezuela and Puerto Rico.

Cuba, Rivero said, was the first country in Latin America to have color television, and second in the world to feature it after the United States.

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Broadcasting Modernity: Cuban Commercial Television, 1950-1960, published by Duke University Press in 2015.

Rivero added that she has always been “fascinated by the popularity of the medium,” and began researching commercial television in Cuba about a decade ago. She read every newspaper and magazine article she could find on television in Cuba, and was pleasantly surprised to find detailed analyses in documents at the Biblioteca Nacional José Martí Centro de Investigaciones del Instituto Cubano de Radio y Televisión in Havana.

Early television in Cuba, she said, was used to convey the country as modern, emerging, economically successful, educated, and morally sound. Some rumba dances were censored on television because they were deemed too risqué.

“When I began my research,” Rivero said, “I had no idea what I would find.”

Photos by Brittney Bomnin.



Visioning Studio for the Future Learning Commons Opens at Richter Library

The Visioning Studio for the future Learning Commons is now open on the first floor of Richter Library.  Look for the large open space with the orange stripes brightening your path.

The Visioning Studio offers a place for the UM community to begin trying out different types of spaces, services, and technologies that the UM Libraries might offer in partnership with campus academic service units. Here is a sampling of what you’ll discover in the Visioning Studio this month:

    • Free tutoring provided by the Academic Resource Center begins in the Visioning Studio’s Consultation Hub on September 8 at 5 p.m. The service will be provided Monday – Thursday evenings from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. The sound in the Visioning Studio will increase accordingly to a collaborative, conversational level during these times.  When tutoring is not occurring, the Consultation Hub is available for open study.
    • Brightspot consultants will be leading user experience interviews and workshops with students and faculty in the Active-Learning Environment during the week of September 8. The goal of this research is to involve our students and faculty in the design of our future Learning Commons. We are grateful to all who are participating!
    • Check out the puzzle station in our prototype BrainSpa, where you can relax and reboot your mind. We are hoping to hear your ideas about other activities you might like to be able to do in the Learning Commons.

Share your vision with us!

 



Join Us for Expanding Career Opportunities for PhDs in the Libraries‌

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UM College of Arts & Sciences Center for the Humanities Presents
Expanding Career Opportunities for PhDs in the Libraries‌
Friday, September 25, 2015
12:30 p.m.

M. Christine Schwartz Center for Nursing Education
Executive Board Room
5030 Brunson Drive | Coral Gables, FL 33146

For UM Faculty and Graduate Students
Register now

Engage in conversation about career opportunities in 21st-century libraries and cultural institutions with a distinguished panel of University of Miami Libraries administrators and postdoctoral fellows, whose research interests include the humanities, social sciences, and sciences.  Listen to their stories, learn about library and archives career exploration strategies including fellowship opportunities, and ask them your questions at this interactive session.

 

About the Speakers

Charles Eckman, Dean of Libraries, Otto G. Richter Library, University of Miami
Dr. Eckman previously served as university librarian and dean of library services at Simon Fraser University (2010-13), director of collections at the University of California, Berkeley (2006-10), and principal government documents librarian and head of the social sciences resource group at Stanford University (1997-2006).

Dr. Eckman has managed and consulted for several digital library initiatives.  He has served on the board of directors for the Association of Southeastern Research Libraries, Canadian Association of Research Libraries, and Canadian Research Knowledge Network; he also served on the Depository Library Council to the Public Printer. Dr. Eckman’s research interests include information policy, open access initiatives, digital scholarship, and the evolution of scholarly communication. He holds an MLIS from UC Berkeley, a PhD and MA in Politics from Princeton University, and a BA in Political Science from Indiana University.

Kelly Miller, Associate Dean, Learning & Research Services, University of Miami
Dr. Miller earned a PhD in Slavic Languages and Literatures at the University of Michigan and held a Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Virginia. Prior to joining the UML, she worked at UCLA Library.

Timothy Norris, CLIR Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Miami
Tim Norris is a second-year Council of Library and Information Resources (CLIR) Postdoctoral Fellow in Data Curation at the University of Miami Libraries. He earned a PhD in Environmental Studies (a.k.a. Geography) at the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC). Prior to his doctoral work at UCSC he started and maintained a small development NGO in Peru.

Martin Tsang, CLIR Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Miami
Martin Tsang serves as a liaison librarian for faculty and students in History and Area Studies. Martin is working to develop print and digital collections, provide consultative and instructional research support services, and assist the Libraries in designing a new model for transformative library engagement with our research and teaching communities. Martin is an anthropologist and received his PhD at Florida International University. He was awarded fellowships at the Cuban Heritage Collection for his doctoral dissertation that focuses on the Chinese Cubans. Prior to his position at UML, Martin was a postdoctoral research fellow on a National Institutes of Health-funded project investigating HIV, drug use, and the tourist industry in the Dominican Republic using a “syndemics” framework.



UM Libraries to Host Hunt for “Hidden Treasures” in Richter Library Stacks

UML Book Tracesby Sarah Block, Library Communications

UM Special Collections Librarian Jay Sylvestre believes that every book, as a record of stories from the past, is unique. The old, seemingly forgotten texts he unearthed in a recent search of the Richter Library Stack Tower are markedly one-of-a-kind, adorned with notes, illustrations, and even physical objects belonging to readers past. Now piled on his desk on the 8th floor, the stack of books, some that are long out of print, will soon come to light again. Their unique markings, known as marginalia, are the target of Book Traces, a nationwide crowdsourcing project started at the University of Virginia (UVA) soon touching down in Miami.

The project aims to preserve information about unique copies of library books, providing a website in which libraries and their users nationwide can upload examples of marginalia ranging from penciled notes about the work to hand drawn maps and sketches inspired by the text. One of Sylvestre’s findings from Richter Library, Jack London’s Tales of the Fish Patrol, contains the symmetrical stain of pressed flowers between two pages. “It’s a little bit like a treasure hunt,” he says. “Because you find these traces of the past and suddenly it’s not just a book you’re looking at, but a window into someone else’s life from another time period. It’s fascinating.”

Now hoping to foster public engagement on these unique library books, Sylvestre is organizing UM Libraries’ first annual Book Traces event on September 24, inviting all book enthusiasts in the community to explore and discover unique books in the stacks and share them on the Book Traces website. A number of groups from UM’s College of Arts and Sciences, including English, classics, and musicology classes, are participating in the event, and Sylvestre hopes to attract the participation of individual students, faculty, and community members joining in the hunt as well, as he’s confident that many more exciting discoveries lie ahead.

“There are many books that were donated during the early years of the University with very distinctive marginalia left by their original owners,” he says. Although books from before 1800 have likely been moved into the Special Collections department, where Sylvestre works, there are many distinctive books—with unique marginalia—from the past two centuries that are still in circulation in the library’s general collections and housed in the Stack Tower, he explains.

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Marginalia in the form of a photograph captured for the Book Traces website in 2014. The photo was found in a copy of the nineteenth-century journal The Spirit Messenger, housed at Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Book Traces focuses chiefly on books from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries that are little used because of their age, and yet not distinctive enough at this point to be housed in special collections. “With many books from this time period being made available in a digital format, people are engaging less with the very interesting copies that exist on library shelves,” Sylvestre says. The Book Traces stated mission is to engage the question of the future of the print record in the wake of wide-scale digitization.

Sylvestre explains the project is also about preserving the history of reading, and readers. He comments, “Books are tools, so the way people used books one hundred years ago gives us insight into the life they led during that historical period. The books have anthropological value.”

The Libraries welcomes readers and book enthusiasts throughout the community to join in the search for unique books at Richter Library by participating in its first annual Book Traces event, which will take place September 24 from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Participants can come at any point throughout the day to explore the stacks floors for marginalia, and will be provided with instruction and assistance by UM Librarians as well as the opportunity to submit their discoveries to the Book Traces database.

The event will also include a presentation by the project’s founder, Andrew Stauffer, director of NINES at UVA, on digitization and the future of nineteenth-century print, at 11:30 a.m. in Richter Library’s 3rd Floor Conference Room. Kara McClurken, director of preservation services at UVA and a principal investigator on the grant that funds Book Traces, will close the event at 4 p.m. in the 3rd Floor Conference Room with a presentation on libraries and print preservation decision-making, discussing the delicate balance of functionality, artifactual evidence, and resource allocation.

Additional information on the Book Traces mission and examples of marginalia can be found on the Book Traces website. More on the UM Libraries Book Traces event will be available in the coming weeks on the Libraries’ homepage. This event is free and open to the public.

RSVP by September 17 to richterevents@miami.edu or 305-284-4026.

GRAY’S SCHOOL AND FIELD BOOK OF BOTANY

The historic pastime of pressing flowers comes to light in a copy of Gray’s School And Field Book of Botany (1870) at Mount Holyoke College Library containing leaves pressed between its pages. The marginalia was posted to Book Traces in 2014.



Join Us for Broadcasting Modernity: Cuban Commercial Television, 1950-1960 on September 9

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The University of Miami’s Cuban Heritage Collection
and Florida International University’s Cuban Research Institute
invite you to a presentation of the book

Broadcasting Modernity: Cuban Commercial Television, 1950-1960
by Yeidy M. Rivero, PhD

Opening remarks by Jorge Duany, PhD
Director, FIU Cuban Research Institute

Wednesday, September 9, 2015
Reception 6:30 p.m.
Presentation 7 p.m.

Roberto C. Goizueta Pavilion
Otto G. Richter Library, 2nd Floor
University of Miami
1300 Memorial Drive
Coral Gables, FL 33146

RSVP to richterevents@miami.edu or call 305-284-4026.
Reception sponsored by the Amigos of the Cuban Heritage Collection

 

The birth and development of commercial television in Cuba in the 1950s occurred alongside political and social turmoil. In this period of dramatic swings encompassing democracy, a coup, a dictatorship, and a revolution, television functioned as a beacon and promoter of Cuba’s identity as a modern nation. In Broadcasting Modernity, television historian Yeidy M. Rivero shows how the television industry enabled different institutions to convey an image of progress, democracy, economic abundance, high culture, education, morality, and decency. After nationalizing Cuban television, the state used it to advance Fidel Castro’s project of creating a modern socialist country. As Cuba changed, television changed with it. Dr. Rivero not only demonstrates television’s importance to Cuban cultural identity formation; she explains how the medium functions in society during times of radical political and social transformation.

Yeidy M. Rivero is Professor of Screen Arts and Cultures at the University of Michigan. She is the coeditor of Contemporary Latina/o Media: Rethinking Production, Circulation, and Politics (2014) and author of Tuning Out Blackness: Race and Nation in the History of Puerto Rican Television (2005). Her scholarship focuses on television studies, race and the media, global media, and Latino/a studies.

Please click map image below to enlarge. Contact us at 305-284-4026 or richterevents@miami.edu with questions about directions and parking.

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CHC Research Colloquia August Schedule

The Cuban Heritage Collection’s 2015-2016 Research Colloquia continues in August with several talks by researchers on works in progress. ​Colloquia are scheduled for 3 p.m. unless otherwise noted.

    • Thursday, August 13
      Abel Sierra Madero, New York University (visiting fellow)
      Made in Cuba: Theatre, Nation and the Forging of the Erotic Subject in the Second Republic (1933-1958)
    • Tuesday, August 18
      Elise Arnold-Levene, Columbia University (CHC Graduate Fellow)
      Lydia Cabrera, the Storyteller as Collector
    • Thursday, August 20 * rescheduled for Wednesday, September 2
      José Villar, Florida International University (CHC Graduate Fellow)
      New Men, New Nations, New Selves: Queer Subjects between Assimilation and Practices of Freedom in Contemporary Cuban Cultural Production
    • Tuesday, August 25
      William Kelly, Rutgers University (CHC Graduate Fellow)
      Constancy and Change: An Analysis of Revolutionary-Era Urban Housing Policy in Cuba
    • Thursday, August 27
      Richard Mwakasege-Minaya, University of Michigan (CHC Graduate Fellow)
      Mobilizing the Empire: Cuban Exile Media & Cold War Politics
    • Monday, August 31
      Francisca Aguilo Mora, University of Miami (CHC Graduate Fellow)
      Language Crossing and Multiaccentuality in Women Writers del Gran Caribe: Narrative, Drama and Performance
  • Learn more about the CHC Graduate Fellowships »


2015-2016 CHC Research Colloquia Convenes

As we welcome a new class of graduate fellows to the Roberto C. Goizueta Pavilion, we open the 2015-2016 CHC Research Colloquia. Join us as fellows and other researchers discuss their work and their research in the Cuban Heritage Collection. Colloquia are open to the public and scheduled for 3 p.m. unless otherwise noted. RSVP to 305-284-4900 or chc@miami.edu.

Thursday, June 25
Rebecca Salois, CUNY (CHC Graduate Fellow)
“Choteo Cubano: Humor as a Critical Tool in 20th Century Cuban Theater”

Tuesday, June 30
Sara Kozameh, New York University (CHC Graduate Fellow)
“The Agrarian Reforms in Revolutionary Cuba: 1959-1965”

Thursday, July 9
Daniel Fernandez, University of Florida (CHC Graduate Fellow)
“Transnational Contributions to Cuban State Formation: the Spanish Republican Exiles in Cuba”

Thursday, July 23
Olivia Ortega, Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología, Mexico (visiting researcher)
Influencia de los Estados Unidos en la construcción de la identidad colectiva publicitaria de México y Cuba, 1930-1950
In Spanish

Tuesday, July 28
Antonio Cardentey Levin, University of Florida (CHC Graduate Fellow)
“Crítica de la pasión caribeña: La dialéctica de los afectos en la novela histórica del Caribe insular hispano”

Tuesday, August 18
Francisca Aguilo Mora, University of Miami (CHC Graduate Fellow)
“Language Crossing and Multiaccentuality in Women Writers del Gran Caribe: Narrative, Drama and Performance”

Thursday, August 20
José Villar, Florida International University (CHC Graduate Fellow)
“New Men, New Nations, New Selves: Queer Subjects between Assimilation and Practices of Freedom in Contemporary Cuban Cultural Production”

Tuesday, August 25
William Kelly, Rutgers University (CHC Graduate Fellow)
“Constancy and Change: An Analysis of Revolutionary-Era Urban Housing Policy in Cuba”

Thursday, August 27
Richard Mwakasege-Miyar, University of Michigan (CHC Graduate Fellow)
“Disseminating Greater Cuba: Cuban Exiles & Cuban-American Media Production”



Cuban Sculptor Roberto Estopiñán (1921-2015) Honored at CHC

by Sarah Block, Library Communications

Click the image above to watch a video of the discussion on May 13. More photos from the event can be viewed on Facebook.

Click the image above to watch a video of the discussion on May 13. More photos from the event can be viewed on Facebook.

Friends, family, and longtime admirers of Cuban sculptor Roberto Estopiñán shed light on the late artist’s vision and the compassion behind his celebrated work during an event held in his memory at the Cuban Heritage Collection (CHC) and co-presented with the Cuban Museum on May 28. Estopiñán, who died in Miami in January 2015 at age 93, is widely known for his work in sculpture describing the complexities of the human condition, often through interpretations of the female form.

The program included a recognition of Estopiñán’s widow, Carmina Benguría, followed by remarks by nephew George Roberto Pace and art historian Alejandro Anreus on Estopiñán’s work and social activism—often interrelated—prior to his exile in 1961 and throughout his life. “At the heart of his work was always the human figure for he believed in the integral and spiritual value of the human person,” Anreus said. The program also included readings by the poets Alina Galliano and Gastón Álvaro, and a screening of the 1994 documentary Artists in Exile: Roberto Estopiñán by the late Cuban-American television writer and producer Ray Blanco.

Forty-six of Estopiñán’s sketchbooks, a few which were on display during the event, were donated to CHC where they will now be preserved and made available to the public.

Photos by Andrew Innerarity.

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Carmina Benguría, widow of Roberto Estopiñán, is honored by CHC Chair Maria Estorino Dooling (left), Ileana Fuentes of the Cuban Museum, and Benguría’s great-nephew Griffin Pace, during the May 28 celebration of Estopiñán’s life and work.



Join Us for an Artist Talk on Creating a Literary Map of Los Angeles

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How might one depict the literary history of a city as complex and diverse as Los Angeles? In 2011, artist J. Michael Walker tackled this question, creating a “City in Mind: A Lyrical Map of the City of Los Angeles” (color pencil on polypropylene paper, 50″ high x 256” wide), a monumental illustrated literary map of Los Angeles. First exhibited at the Hammer Museum, the map was later acquired by the UCLA Library, where it will soon be placed on permanent display. The remarkably generative work — now fully digitized — has been integrated into history, literature, and digital humanities courses at UCLA and led to new opportunities for teaching with special collections in the digital era.

In conversation with Kelly Miller, Associate Dean of Learning and Research Services at the University of Miami Libraries, J. Michael Walker will discuss the work, how it came to be, and the collaborations it has inspired.

The conversation will be followed by Q&A. This event is free and open to the public.
RSVP now to richterevents@miami.edu or call 305-284-4026.

About the Artist
Photo-by-Michael-Dooley_crop2J. Michael Walker’s multicultural works connect history and spirituality with an empathic feminism. His artwork has been exhibited both nationally and internationally, including solo exhibitions at the Harvard Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, Mexico City’s Museo Nacional de Culturas Populares, and the Autry Center Museum of the American West. His first book, All the Saints of the City of the Angels (Heyday, 2008), which he both wrote and illustrated, as an exploration of the history and multicultural heritage of Los Angeles, won Art Book of the Year and Best Regional Non-Fiction on the Pacific West for 2009, and is in its second printing. J. Michael’s essays have been published in the Los Angeles Times, on the Zocalo website, and in Iris, the online magazine of the Getty Museum.



Local Food Experts Engage Foodie Community of South Florida

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Click the image above to watch a video of the discussion on May 13. More photos from the event can be viewed on Facebook.

by Sarah Block, Library Communications

Local food experts reflected on South Florida’s abundant natural offerings, strong multicultural seasonings, and rich supply of untapped resources—all shaping the area’s evolving culinary landscape during a panel discussion at UM Special Collections’ Tropical Gastronomies. The event featured chef and cookbook author Norman Van Aken, food blogger and Edible South Florida editor Gretchen Schmidt, and author and historian Mandy Baca.

Mandy Baca is talking.

Mandy Baca, author of The Sizzling History of Miami Cuisine: Cortaditos, Stone Crabs & Empanadas, discusses Miami food history with chef and cookbook author Norman Van Aken and food blogger and Edible South Florida editor Gretchen Schmidt.

Moderated by Special Collections Head Cristina Favretto, the discussion touched on well-established fares and flavors such as stone crabs, citrus, and mangos, the formation of Van Aken’s New World Cuisine, and how recent developments like the farm-to-table movement are shedding light on lesser-known edible flora and fauna. The event was held as part of a UM Libraries-wide exhibition exploring the rich culinary traditions of South Florida, Cuba, and the Caribbean. Vintage restaurant postcards and menus, local organizational cookbooks, and dining brochures from Pan American World Airlines, Inc., and other materials are on display from Special Collections.

During the event, Favretto announced that Special Collections aims to further its collection of food- and cooking-related materials through the establishment of the Culinary History Collection of Florida, and is seeking donations of historical materials such as restaurant menus, local and regional recipe books, oral histories with chefs, and images of restaurants, grocery stores, and farmers’ markets. Individuals interested in contributing to the archive are encouraged to contact Special Collections at 305-284-3247 or asc.library@miami.edu.

Photos by Andrew Innerarity.

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The discussion touched on well-established fares and flavors and how recent developments like the farm-to-table movement are shedding light on lesser-known edible flora and fauna.