Navigate the clues, ascend the throne! The University of Miami will host Game of Maps, a geo-game with cash prizes, for UM students, faculty, and staff. The game begins on November 8 and runs for nine days culminating on GIS Day, November 16. Learn more and register by November 7 »
By Bárbara Gutiérrez, UM News
Lydia Cabrera was the Margaret Mead of Cuba. The Havana-born, Paris-educated anthropologist and literary figure was an authority on Santería and other Afro-Cuban religions, earning the trust and respect of its practitioners.
Cabrera, who died in Miami in 1991, left a precious treasure trove to the University of Miami Libraries’ Cuban Heritage Collection that served as the centerpiece for the first discussion at the New Directions in Cuban Studies Conference held October 20 and 21 at the Donna E. Shalala Center.
The conference, sponsored by the CHC and the Miami Institute for the Americas (MIA), highlighted the works of top academics, many of whom have used the CHC for research.
In its second rendition, New Directions featured 21 scholars who presented their research papers on topics ranging from “Making Ends Meet: Women’s Small-Scale, Home based Informal Employment in Post-Soviet Cuba” to “The Symbolic Century XIX in Cuban Literature after 1959.”
“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to host this event and showcase the work of emerging scholars in Cuban studies,” said Dean of Libraries Charles Eckman in his welcoming remarks. “This event represents our essential mission as a library, that of supporting education and personal development through research, collaboration, and inspiring discussion.”
Felicia Knaul, director of MIA, also welcomed the audience, saying that she found the CHC to be a space that “evokes leadership and thought around key issues.” She added that the University and MIA have a “commitment to identify ways that through academia, learning and policy discussions ways can be found that lead to peace, to knowledge and better access for the many in our world to economic development here and in the future.”
During the first panel, three scholars presented “The Ontology of Lydia Cabrera’s Archive: Sexuality and the Spirit” by delving into how the noted ethnographer explored and developed images of queer, feminist, and non-traditional roles in her writings about Santeria, the African religion brought over to Cuba by African slaves.
Sarah Piña, a doctoral candidate at University of Houston who studied the Lydia Cabrera Papers as a Goizueta fellow at CHC, said that although Cabrera never openly revealed her identity as a feminist or a lesbian, she was drawn to issues of the marginalized of Cuba society, such as blacks and queer elements within the Santeria religion, a religion that gave access to the LGBTQ communities.
There was ample evidence of this in her books, including the seminal El Monte and Yemayá y Ochun, said Piña. Cabrera also kept many notebooks on the role of women Santeras.
Cabrera also seemed to have a great identification with Yemayá, the mother goddess, who was said to protect homosexuals, Piña explained. In Cabrera’s personal papers, documents, diaries, and even recipe cards, she often wrote the name of the deity in the margins. She also often used the name jicotea (turtle), even signing letters to friends with the name Jicotea Lydia. The jicotea is one of very few animals who have an androgynous nature, said Piña.
Martin Tsang, a Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Miami Libraries, offered a bold take on the Afro-Cuban orisha, or deity, Inle, considered both a wise medical healer and a protector of the queer.
In the Santeria religion, Inle is associated with the Catholic saint San Rafael, whose feast falls on October 24. Tsang pointed out that Cabrera wrote in El Monte about a group of lesbian santeras who had Inle as their patron deity. On his feast day, they would burn a straw fish (one of his symbols) in his honor and sell “tortillas de San Rafael” on the streets around Havana’s La Loma del Angel neighborhood. Tsang believes that the term tortillera, commonly used by Cubans to describe lesbians, may have stemmed from that practice.
The two-day conference, last held in 2014, was attended by about 300 people and concluded with a special event at HistoryMiami Museum. Dean Eckman noted that financial support for the conference came in large part from the 1-year-old Goizueta Graduate Research Fellows Program.
Throughout the 2016-2017 academic year the Cuban Heritage Collection is welcoming ten emerging scholars into the Goizueta Foundation Graduate Fellowships Program. We are proud to introduce each of our 2016-2017 Goizueta Fellows throughout the course of the program.
Our sixth fellow of the series, Samuel Finesurrey, will discuss his work in a CHC Research Colloquium on Wednesday, November 2, 3 p.m., at CHC’s Roberto C. Goizueta Pavilion. All are welcome to attend this presentation.
About Samuel Finesurrey
New Jersey native Samuel Finesurrey has always loved history. He attended University of Wisconsin as an undergrad and previously worked as a high school teaching Intern in New York City.
What university/program are you from?
I’m a Ph.D. student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
What are you working on?
My dissertation is on Cuba’s Anglo-American Colony during the 1950s.
What do you expect to find at CHC?
The CHC is home to wonderful collections of Anglo-American-run cultural institutions, Anglo-American-managed corporations, and donations from members of the Anglo-American community.
How can we learn more about your research?
I will be talking about my project in a CHC Research Colloquium* on November 2, 3 p.m., at the Roberto C. Goizueta Pavilion. You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Colloquia are free and open to the public. Contact us at email@example.com for more information.
September 20 – November 1, 2016
Otto G. Richter Library, 2nd floor
Featuring works by Tracey Emin, Naomi Fisher, Sam Taylor-Johnson, Ana Mendieta, and Susanne Winterling
Pink Powder, an exhibition of renowned works owned by the de la Cruz Collection is now on view at Richter Library. The exhibition brings together a group of artists whose work addresses the female form and identity.
Imagery varying from the quiet and ponderous, to the raw and rebellious, subvert the traditional role of the female muse within the canons of art history, literature, and popular culture.
From the “earth-body” work of Cuban-American artist, Ana Mendieta, to the drawings of female bodies as plants by Miami artist, Naomi Fisher; and from the confessional work of British artists, Tracey Emin and Sam Taylor-Johnson, to the autobiographical work of Berlin-based artist, Susanne Winterling; the artists in this exhibition address the female body with an unapologetic intensity and encourage a conversation on the healing power of the visual arts.
This exhibition is organized by the de la Cruz Collection in collaboration with the the Libraries and Miami Institute for the Americas with contributions by the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, Lowe Art Museum in the College of Arts and Sciences, and the Frost School of Music on the occasion of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, October 2016.
On the eve of Breast Cancer Awareness Month coming up in October, Dr. Felicia Marie Knaul, director of the University of Miami Institute for the Americas, has a message for the many women around the world who have been confronted with the devastating disease.
A breast cancer survivor, Knaul spoke alongside her husband, UM President Julio Frenk, on Tuesday evening about stigmas that surround cancer, specifically in treatment, and the need to empower those who are facing it, at the opening of Pink Powder, an exhibition on view at the Otto G. Richter Library.
“The beauty of women is not specific to our exterior,” Knaul said during a reception held in the Roberto C. Goizueta Pavilion, her words echoing a unifying message in a series of works owned by the de la Cruz Collection and brought to UM through a collaboration of the Libraries and Miami Institute for the Americas with contributions by the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, Lowe Art Museum in the College of Arts and Sciences, and the Frost School of Music.
Knaul was inspired to initiate the installment in part from her own experience in battling breast cancer, which she was diagnosed with in 2007.
“One of the biggest obstacles in being able to detect and treat women’s cancers, particularly breast cancer, is this tremendous fear of what it will do to our bodies. We are afraid of abandonment. We are afraid of disfigurement,” she said at the event.
The exhibition includes works in various forms related to the female body and identity, from the “earth-body” work of Cuban-American pioneer performance artist Ana Mendieta to the drawings of female bodies as plants by Miami native Naomi Fisher, and from the confessional work of British artist Tracy Emin to the autobiographical video of Berlin-based artist Susanne Winterling.
“Pink Powder is a group of artists that are trying to address the woman’s body, through a woman’s form,” said Rosa de la Cruz, co-founder of the de la Cruz Collection. “And here you have artists from Ana Mendieta, the performing artist, to the work of Tracy Emin, which is totally autobiographical, and you see how these women are encouraging us to have a conversation on the healing power of the visual arts.”
President Julio Frenk said the exhibition reflects an aspect of work at the University and within the University of Miami Institute for the Americas related to the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer. “Breast cancer affects people of all socioeconomic groups and all countries of the world. There’s the emotional connection to the system, that is actually life threatening if it is not treated correctly,” Frenk said. “The arts are a vehicle to derive meaning from the human experience. And that’s why this exhibit is so powerful.”
On view in the library through the month of October, the exhibition is an initiative of the University’s Galleries, Libraries, and Museums (GLAM) sector, which supports collaboration between libraries and museums as rich repositories of ideas, objects, and insights into how we think, who we are, and the stories we tell. “We are proud to host this powerful series of works by female artists,” said Chuck Eckman, dean of the University of Miami Libraries.
The event closed with a performance on keyboard by Justina Shandler, a graduate student and songwriter in the Frost School, inspired by a family friend’s battle with cancer. From Shandler’s Easy to Be Afraid:
Pick up your head, pick up your pencil
Get out of bed, get in the light
Pick up some bread and you can break it with a friend
Pick up your friend and hold her tight
Pick up all the stardust you can find in your life
By Yvette Yurubi, Reference Assistant, Special Collections
Long before video games came along, board games dominated as a common pastime for adults and kids. With their 2-D platforms, simple narratives, and easy, straightforward objectives, they were a hit among friends, during parties and family gatherings. So what can we learn today from this historic national pastime?
After Special Collections recently acquired a series of vintage board games, UGrow Fellow Ellen Davies created a display highlighting what games can tell us about social issues and attitudes in mainstream culture. Without the many bells and whistles virtually transporting players to worlds beyond, these games used more simple tactics to entertain, meanwhile reflecting the ideals of the time. In games from the 1960s and 1970s, we are transported to a time when even the concept of equality, regardless of gender or race, was still making its way into many parts of society.
What Shall I Be? The Exciting Game of Career Girls, for instance, is a game where players must roll the dice, move around the board, and collect career, personality, and subject cards in order to obtain their “dream job.” The game only offers to women six very limiting jobs to choose from: model, airline hostess, ballet dancer, actress, teacher, and nurse. Notably absent are many STEM-based jobs aside from nursing, jobs in the military, and hard-labor jobs, and the game comes equipped with set-backs where a modeling career is out of a player’s reach due to them being overweight or being unattractive. It presents a singular view in which women are highly valued for their looks and behavior rather than their education, intellect, and abilities.
It’s notable that the boy’s version of the game does also offer careers that would be considered traditional for men alongside an array of educational possibilities: law school – statesman; graduate school – scientist; college – athlete; medical school – doctor; technical school – engineer; and flight school – astronaut. However, the absence of careers like steward, model, or dancer also shows a limited perception where men aren’t granted much freedom to pursue anything that doesn’t fall within long-stemming societal views of masculinity.
While these games might be taken at face value, it’s also possible that the creators wanted to use them to make social commentary by highlighting the blatant lack of equality. Woman & Man: The Classic Confrontation furthers this idea by encouraging players to take on the role of the opposite gender and experience “life” through their lenses. The goal of the game is to gather 100 status quo points, though those who choose to play as women can only start with a range of 5-40 points and a position as an assistant while those who play as men, start the game with 36-60 points and a managerial position. The lack of gender equality is exhibited from the onset, illustrating the harder struggle women have had to endure to even stand on an even playing field with men.
In the wake of growing awareness of social issues and the expanding and rapidly evolving concepts of gender and sexuality, these games seem laughably outdated and politically incorrect. However, aside from their novelty, they do provide an opportunity to open up a dialogue about how casual sexism and restricted gender roles once dominated the social consciousness of the past and how they continue to be an issue today that everyone is struggling to transform and reinvent so that future generations do not have to be so confined in what role they feel they should have to fulfill in order to be accepted into society. We eagerly invite you all to venture to the 8th floor and join us with your friends to share in the experience of these vintage games which are now on exhibit.
Prepare to soar through iconic 20th-century history.
University of Miami Special Collections is gearing up for a project to put over 100,000 items in the Pan Am archive online thanks to a digitization grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC).
In May the NHPRC announced the grant, one of five awarded nationwide, for Special Collections to digitize the items in the Pan American World Airways, Inc. Records collection. The archival collection—one of the University of Miami’s most popular and extensive—houses historical Pan Am brochures, newsletters, periodicals, annual reports, timetables, and many other records documenting the iconic company’s 60-plus years of operation.
“This is an opportunity to provide unprecedented access to Pan Am’s history, operations, and business culture,” says Sarah Shreeves, UM Libraries Associate Dean for Digital Strategies. “We thank the NHPRC for helping us make this extensive series available for researchers at any time of day and from anywhere in the world.”
The 1.5-year project, which begins in October, will include the digitization of 60 boxes of printed materials and publications (known as the “printed materials series”) spanning from 1930 to 1991, which is almost the entire lifetime of the company, and covering all of the geographic areas serviced by the airline.
The digitization efforts build on a previous NHPRC-funded project completed in 2014 to organize the collection in its entirety—all 1,500 boxes of administrative, legal, financial, technical, and promotional materials as well as internal publications, photographs, audiovisual material, and graphic material. Online tools for researching the collection are available on the mini-website Cleared to Land.
“The project will continue our efforts to maximize the impact of the collection as a research resource,” says Beatrice Skokan, Manuscripts Librarian at Special Collections, who worked with head of Digital Production and principal investigator Laura Capell to secure the grant.
Once the printed series is digitized, the archive will be fully text searchable and available to the public free of charge.
by Lauren Fralinger, Learning and Research Services Librarian
How often do you think about your right to read? It is often said that words can change the world, whether they’re spoken aloud or written down. The First Amendment recognizes the power of words, enshrining our freedom of speech. But what happens when that speech is challenged? When we’re told we can’t speak out, can’t read words that might challenge our thoughts or give us new ideas?
September 25 through October 1 is Banned Books Week, a time of year designated to raise awareness of banned and challenged books, and an opportunity to understand the consequences of censorship. This year the week takes a thematic focus on diversity, celebrating diverse voices and ideas and shining a light on disproportionate censorship of authors from diverse communities.
Banned Books Week was founded in 1982 by Judith Krug in response to a sudden surge of challenged books. Krug, a First Amendment defender and library advocate, strongly opposed censorship. She felt that no one should be restricted from books or ideas, and that readers should have the freedom to develop their own opinions.
In the thirty-four years since Krug began her initiative, there have been more than 11,300 books challenged, according to the American Library Association (ALA). 275 books were challenged in 2015, which is lower than previous years. Some of the most frequently challenged books of 2015 included Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out by Susan Kuklin, Nasreen’s Secret School: A True Story from Afghanistan by Jeanette Winter, and even the Holy Bible, which appeared on the list for the first time. Books that involve topics of sexuality and religion often top lists of frequently challenged books.
If a book is challenged, someone is trying to keep it from the hands of readers. ALA’s Office of Intellectual Freedom has reported the top three reasons for a challenge are: 1) the material was considered to be sexually explicit, 2) the material was considered to have offensive language, and 3) the material was considered unsuited for any age group.
Challenges by various groups have resulted in books commonly regarded today as classic literature being banned from libraries and schools across the United States: In 1957, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was banned from the Detroit Public Library for “having no value for children of today, supporting negativism, and bringing children’s minds to a cowardly level.”
Other classic works that have been banned include:
- Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, on the grounds of profanity and racially charged language.
- J. D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye, described by detractors as a “filthy, filthy book.”
- First edition copies of Allan Ginsberg’s Howl were seized by the San Francisco customs for obscenity in 1957; however, after a trial the obscenity charges were dropped.
- John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath was temporarily banned in the in region of California in which it was originally set for “alleged unflattering portrayal of area residents.”
- The Diary of a Young Girl, by Anne Frank, was once banned by an Alabama textbook committee, deeming it a “real downer.”
Banned Books Week at Richter
Banned Books Week highlights these and many other influential works that have endured censorship, bringing together proponents of free speech, librarians, publishers, teachers, and book lovers of all genres. This year’s events specifically highlight the increasingly popular medium of comic books and graphic novels.
Come join us in September for a week-long celebration of free speech and great literature! Starting September 25, look around the library for books that have been challenged or banned – some of the titles may surprise you. And don’t miss our Read Out of banned and challenged work on September 28!
Throughout the week, you can also view a selection of banned, rare books at Special Collections. An exhibit near the elevators on the 8th floor will feature works by John Milton, William Shakespeare, Giordano Bruno (burned at the stake for his religious and scientific views), D. H. Lawrence, Allen Ginsberg, and others.
Exercise your right to read – check out a banned book from the library!
Wednesday, September 28
2 – 3:30 p.m.
Otto G. Richter Library
Learning Commons, 1st floor
1300 Memorial Drive | Coral Gables, FL 33146
Join us in celebrating the “right to read!” The University of Miami will commemorate the American Library Association’s Banned Books Week 2016 with a Read Out of previously banned or challenged works. Speakers for this event include:
- cfrancis blackchild, Lecturer, Department of Theatre Arts
- Louise Davidson-Schmich, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science
- Suchismita Dutta, Ph.D. Candidate, Department of English
- Jeremy Penn, Treasurer of SpectrUM
- Josh Schriftman, Lecturer in the Composition Program, Department of English
- Sarah Shreeves, Associate Dean for Digital Strategies, University of Miami Libraries
About Banned Books Week
Since 1982, the American Library Association has designated this annual week to raise awareness of banned and challenged books and the consequences of censorship. Banned Books Week 2016 takes a thematic focus on diversity, celebrating diverse voices and ideas and shining a light on disproportionate censorship of authors from diverse communities. Learn more about UM Libraries celebration of Banned Books Week »
Parking is available at the Pavia Garage near Stanford Drive. Please click map image below to enlarge. Learn more about parking »
Wednesday, September 28
4 – 4:30 p.m.
Otto G. Richter Library
3rd Floor Conference Room
1300 Memorial Drive | Coral Gables, FL 33146
Co-presented by the UM School of Law
Join us for a practice session in mindfulness led by Scott Rogers, Lecturer in Law and Director of the Mindfulness in Law Program. This 30-minute session will introduce the fundamentals in mindfulness with five minutes of gathering and readying for practice, a 15-minute lightly-guided practice, and five-minute period of quiet discussion.
If you’re interested in attending this free program, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stay tuned for the next date in this series:
- Wednesday, October 26
Parking is available at the Pavia Garage near Stanford Drive. Please click map image below to enlarge. Learn more about parking »