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”

CHC Fellowships applications due February 1st


The Cuban Heritage Collection (CHC) offers fellowships in support of individual research by U.S.-based graduate students and scholars who wish to use the research resources available in the Collection. Applications for 2015-2016 fellowships are due on Sunday, February 1, 2015.  To learn more about the awards, eligibility, and requirements, visit library.miami.edu/chc/fellows.

Launched with a grant from The Goizueta Foundation, the CHC Fellowships program has made 55 awards since 2010. Questions? Write to us at chc@miami.edu.



2015-2016 CHC Fellowships Call for Applications


The Cuban Heritage Collection (CHC) at the University of Miami Libraries invites applications for the 2015-2016 CHC Fellowships in support of individual research by graduate students and scholars who wish to use the research resources available in the Collection. Awards are made in two categories:

CHC Graduate Fellowships
Awards are available for Pre-Prospectus and Research fellowships for U.S.-based doctoral students. For more information and to apply, please visit apply.interfolio.com/27641.

CHC Arts in the Cuban Republic Fellowships
Awards support U.S.-based students and scholars with projects focused on topics related to the arts in Cuba between 1933 and 1958, including but not limited to visual arts, music, theater, dance, and architecture. For more information and to apply, please visit apply.interfolio.com/27642.

The CHC Fellowships require residency in the CHC for the duration of the award period. All applications are due on Sunday, February 1, 2015 and must be submitted electronically through the links provided above. Questions? Please write to chc@miami.edu

Launched with a grant from The Goizueta Foundation, the CHC Fellowships program has made 55 awards since 2010. To learn more about the program and past CHC Fellows, visit library.miami.edu/chc/fellows.


Scholar Spotlight: Hideaki Kami

Hideaki Kami was a 2013-2014 CHC Graduate Research Fellow. A doctoral student in history at Ohio State University, he authored the following report about his fellowship and his research on “Diplomacy and Migration: A Transformation of U.S. Relations with Cuba, 1974-1992.”

Hideaki KamiI am pleased to report that my research at the University of Miami’s Cuban Heritage Collection (CHC) proved very fruitful due to the generous support from the CHC. CHC staff members helped me settle in Miami, become familiar with materials and peoples, and gain better chances to deepen my knowledge of the history of Cuba and Cuban Diasporas. By writing this report I would like first to acknowledge your valuable assistance to my research in Miami in the autumn of 2013, which would be a fundamental source for my PhD dissertation on the history of U.S. relations with Cuba in the 1970s and 1980s.

The fundamental purpose of my Miami research was to incorporate Cuban American politics and its history into the broader narrative of U.S. relations with Cuba in the recent decades. Because of its central focus on state-to-state relations, the field of diplomatic history has all too often dismissed the importance of human migration—the changing configuration of demographics, backgrounds, worldviews, and mindsets—for the making of U.S. foreign policy. Such assumptions, however, would be open to question if we study the case of Miami Cubans and their role in U.S. relations with Cuba, which would help us to wonder how the movement of people might have changed the dynamics of power and cultures within and across the borders of nation-states.

The CHC graduate fellowship allowed me to take an important step toward an answer to this question by broadening my perspectives of foreign relations history. With this fellowship I could stay for three months in Miami, where I could gain access to the valuable resources, even outside the CHC, and could meet with historical figures who were willing to share their stories with future generations. One good example of such resources is Dante Fascell Papers at the University of Miami’s Special Collection. This congressional collection holds numerous notes, letters, correspondences, published materials, which tell about the last fifty years’ history of Miami, where Cuban Americans played a major role. Further, my interview with Alfredo Duran, key player during the Jimmy Carter’s presidency, generously informed me of the insider story of the Carter administration’s approach to the Cuban American community.

Most of the time I spent in Miami, however, was at the CHC’s reading room, where I encountered even more numerous stories of Cuban life in Miami. Reading Cuban American newspapers, magazines, tabloids, newsletters, and all other published materials consumed much of my time and energy. Yet, these resources provided crucial information about the Cuban American community’s varying reactions to the actions and behaviors of Washington and Havana at critical moments in bilateral relations. Even richer materials than these published materials are manuscript collections, which provided unique perspectives of the Cuban American community and its interactions with the governments of the United States and Cuba. Particularly relevant to my project were Bernardo Benes and Mirta Ojito Collections, whose resources allow me to reexamine the context of the Mariel boatlift of 1980. While comparing and combining stories of this specially emotive event from perspectives of Washington, Havana, and Miami, I came to realize how valuable these collections were not only in terms of the history of the Cuban American community, but also in the broader context of U.S. relations with Cuba at the height of the Cold War.

Several noteworthy testimonies that I found within Diana Kirby Papers also will shed new light on the experiences of Mariel Cubans, whose critical views of all U.S. and Cuban players were indispensable for polishing my views of the event. Likewise, the materials of Cuban Refugee Center Records and Fort Chafee Collections will enrich further my stories of the boatlift.

Materials on the 1980s are relatively scarce, but the CHC also surprised me by offering several important sources. Some organizations like Alpha 66 held the comprehensive records, covering this decade. The most powerful and important Cuban American organization, Cuban American National Foundation, published numerous newsletters and information memorandum that poured into some of individual collections at the CHC. Equally important are three volumes of Jorge Mas Canosa’s speeches and radio transcripts, Jorge Mas Canosa en busca de una Cuba libre: Edición completa de sus discursos, entrevistas y declaraciones, 1962-1997. The records account for the trajectory of his political career, as well as the shifting strategies of the most memorable leader of the community of his time. Added to these sources is Jose Antonio Font Papers, which includes some of CANF’s internal documents that would be otherwise unattainable anywhere else.

My research also benefits from Luis J. Botifoll Oral History Project, which the CHC offers online. Colorful testimonies and recollections of major Cuban American players in U.S.-Cuban relations, such as José Basulto, Bernardo Benes, Lincoln Díaz-Balart, Alfredo Durán, Irma Santos de Mas Canosa, Enrique Ros, Jorge Mas Santos, Diego R. Suárez, not only provided precious information but also made me aware of what might be missing from the written records available today. Despite CHC’s generous support for my attempts to interview Pepe Hernandez and other CANF’s founding fathers, these efforts have not yet come to fruit until now. Nonetheless, I will keep pursuing this and other chances to expand my knowledge of the ideas and activities of the foundation, along with its connections with Washington politics.

Numerous other materials, such as Cuban periodicals like Bohemia, interview records with Fidel Castro, and Miami’s radio monitoring service records (on Cuban radios in Havana) prove helpful to explore the Cuban side of history and to prepare for further research on this frontier. Overall, the CHC fellowship gave me tremendously valuable opportunities not only to read uncountable rare resources in Miami, but also rigorously to train myself as a scholar, who wants to be familiar with the unique history of Cuba and Cuban Diasporas. I will continue my dissertation research in the hope of writing dissertation within three years, and writing a book and/or journal articles on some of the topics that would be relevant to this project.

Thank you once again for the generous support. As one of the former CHC fellows, I will remember and cherish my fortunate time as the University of Miami’s Cuban Heritage Collection.

This report was authored by Hideaki Kami to fulfill one of the requirements of the CHC Graduate Fellowships.

Scholar Spotlight: Anasa Hicks

Anasa Hicks was a 2013-2014 CHC Graduate Pre-Prospectus Fellow. A doctoral student in history at New York University, she authored the following report about her fellowship and her research on “Domestic Work in 20th Century Cuba.” 

Anasa HicksBefore beginning research at the Cuban Heritage Collection, I knew that I wanted to write about domestic workers, but I was not sure exactly what that would mean. My interest in the topic stemmed from an interest in the experiences of black women in twentieth-century Cuba, many of whom had been domestics; but I was not sure what aspect or theme within the lives of domestic workers would ground my research.

The sources I found at the Cuban Heritage Collection suggest the possibility that exploring the meaning of domestic work itself—that is, asking questions about who does it and when, who never does it and why, and when legislators or charitable institutions become involved in issues surrounding domestic work—could yield a broader and more interesting analysis than just focusing on the experiences of a specific group of domestic workers. Certainly, many black women were domestic workers—but as the CHC’s extensive collection of the Gaceta de la Habana showed me, so were Chinese men. Anglophone Caribbean women migrated with their men to become domestics in eastern Cuba; and recently arrived Spanish women were often nursemaids. Sources like the Gaceta and conversations with staff members at the CHC clarified the diversity of identities among domestic workers in Cuba.

Other CHC holdings highlighted domestic work’s centrality to upholding Cuba’s class divisions. Americans travelers to Cuba regularly noted that middle- and upper-class families defined themselves in large part by their ability to hire domestic help. Employing domestic workers was definitional to what it meant to be an elite Cuban woman: one observer of Cuban culture wrote that “the well-to do Cuban will not allow his wife to do any housework. Cooking, washing or scrubbing would lower her to the level of a servant.” ¹ Early twentieth-century travelogues demonstrated that the institution of paid domestic labor reinforced gender, racial, and class identities and hierarchies.

The theme of education, specifically the need to educate (certain) young women to perform domestic work, emerged from the documents I found as well. Lyceum y Lawn Tennis Club, a women’s social club, was an intellectual and social service staple in Havana society from its founding in 1939 to its end in 1968. The women of the club hosted talks, offered vocational and academic classes, founded the island’s first public library and even had an art gallery. Education was central to Lyceum’s mission to “foment in the woman a collective spirit;” the club offered such classes as English language, Swiss cooking, and Cuban history.

In perusing the Gaceta oficial, I found detailed plans for an “Escuela del Hogar” which opened in Havana in 1919. The school, open to young women between fifteen and twenty-five years old, aimed to educate them in the art of domesticity, offering classes such as sewing, ironing, and cooking. None of the classes offered were as erudite as the selection offered at Lyceum. Elsewhere in Latin America, similar institutions were essentially feeder programs into the homes of wealthy benefactors: working-class girls attended the schools and then became domestics. It is difficult to know whether this was the case in Cuba, or for whom this kind of education was intended. Did young middle-class and elite women enroll, or would such tasks be beneath them? Studying domestic work would shed light on the reasons for which some women were educated in how to iron clothes and linens while others learned French and flower arrangement.

My findings in Miami have allowed me to think more clearly about why domestic work interests me. A study of how domestic labor got done in Cuba, when it was paid for and when it was taught and to whom, can allow historians to gain new understandings of labor, of gender, of class and race relations. My findings at the CHC were essential to my presentation at the Berkshire Conference on the History of Women in May of 2014. Additionally, what I have found at the CHC this summer will guide the drafting of my prospectus as I prepare to defend it and will guide my questions as I continue my dissertation research.

¹ Lowry Nelson, Rural Cuba (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1950): 144.

Scholar Spotlight: Maikel Fariñas Borrego

Maikel Fariñas Borrego was a 2013-2014 CHC Graduate Pre-Prospectus Fellow. A doctoral student in history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, he authored the following report about his fellowship and his research on “Regional Pressure Groups in Cuba: Local Elites and Conflicting Interests, 1888-1968.” 

Maikel Fariñas BorregoI was in residence at the Cuban Heritage Collection as a Pre-Prospectus Fellow from June through July 2013. The number and variety of sources I consulted have proven to be highly valuable to my project. As my project is focused on the study of local to national and transnational civil society, the elites and their conflicting interests in the twentieth century, the expressions of sociability and associations in particular are extremely important. Between 1888 and the 1930s many new forms of associations were established in Cuba. Both the Spanish traditions and the North American culture inspired a considerable number of organizations. This second influence, however, attracted the elites overwhelmingly. Many of the new organizations started in Havana and later spread all over the country. The social hierarchies and class distinctions were majorly shaped by the actions and members of the new incoming clubs. That is why a case study of Rotary International, its influences in Cuba, and the local Rotary Clubs throughout the archipelago can inform about both civil societies interactions. The Rotarian organizations and the global networks of Rotary Clubs got to spread profusely in Cuba. In this process, aside of their typical philanthropic aims, they intervened in almost every sphere of the country’s economy, politics and even foreign affairs.

Among the pamphlets and books, many materials will allow me to study the special relationship that these social clubs held with chambers of commerce, especially the “Cámara de Comercio de la República de Cuba” and the “American Chamber of Commerce of Cuba.” There are directories which can be studied as databases to identify the common members of the two organizations. In addition, there are other books providing abundant information on these institutions (e.g. American Chamber of Commerce of Cuba. Cuba: Facts and Figures). In rare books we can also appreciate the importance of an American community in Cuba and how far they managed to establish themselves on the Island of Pines (Stephen Chalmers. Isle of Pines: Where the Pine and the Palm Tree Meet). This is particularly relevant to the intervention of Cuban Rotarians on the Cuban claims of sovereignty over the second largest island of the archipelago; which was finally established in 1925 after the ratification of the Hay-Quesada treaty. Many materials are specifically related to Rotary and Lions in Cuba (e.g. Club de Leones de La Habana. Directorio año social 1947-1948 and the Club Rotario Marianao. Directorio 1958-59). These booklets can provide essential information about the membership, the type of Rotarian businesses and even the places they chose for residence on the island. By understanding similar organizations such as Lions Clubs I gain a more in depth comprehension of Rotarians.

Another point to consider is the importance of the close relationship of Cuban Rotarians with their peers in the United States during World War II (Rotary Club of Havana. A hundred letters from the front). Conferences of the Rotarian district (Rotary Club of Marianao. Memoria de la XXXIII Conferencia del distrito 101: sede, Club Rotario de Marianao) left behind abundant sources of information. The many lectures given at Rotarian gatherings promoted a patriotic spirit among Cubans (e. g. Raúl Maestri. Movilización económica de las Américas and Luis Rodolfo Miranda. Homenaje a José Martí en el Club Rotario  de la Habana). It should be mentioned that yearbooks are especially important because of the amount of information they can provide to the investigation (Distrito 25º de Rotary International. Memoria de las actividades desarrolladas por el Dr. Manuel Galigarcía, Gobernador del Distrito 25º de Rotary International).

Abundant archival sources related to the culture of the exile document how Rotarians and Lions formed a substantial part of the integration of Cubans who came to Miami after the Revolution of 1959. The vertical files were informative about this process as well as for many other Cuban institutions and national and local personalities. Other important collections at the CHC contributed substantively to my research (e. g. Gerardo Machado y Morales Papers, Lydia Cabrera Papers, and José Lezama Lima Papers).

The collections are carefully preserved and the work environment that permeates the CHC is very supportive of research. The staff provides the best of services and I want to thank in particular Maria Estorino, Gladys Gomez-Rossie, Annie Sansone-Martinez, Meiyolet Mendez, Rosa Monzon-Alvarez. Thanks to them, their service and the preservation of documents, we can count on these collections to write a significant portion of the history of Cuba, the Caribbean, and Latin America.

CHC Research Colloquia August Schedule


Do not miss the presentations scheduled for August as part of the Cuban Heritage Collection’s 2014-2015 Research Colloquia. ​RSVP to 305-284-4900 or chc@miami.edu.

    • Tuesday, August 5 at 3 p.m.
      Joseph Hartman, Southern Methodist University (CHC Graduate Fellow)
      The Rocks and Marbles Speak: Spatial Cultures of Republican Cuba


    • Tuesday, August 12 at 3 p.m.
      Sarah Becker, University of Houston (CHC Graduate Fellow)
      Yemayá and Ochún, or the Literary Tradition of the Feminine Orishas: The Feminist-Queer Ethnography of Lydia Cabrera


    • Thursday, August 21 at 3 p.m.
      Yesenia Fernandez Selier (Arts in the Cuban Republic Fellow)
      Ambassadors of Cuban Dance in the 1930s: The Repercussions of Rumba Craze in Cuba


    • Thursday, August 28 at 3 p.m.
      Zeila Frade, Florida International University (CHC Graduate Fellow)
      Children’s Literature, Ideology and Cultural Identity Before and After the Cuban Revolution


CHC Research Colloquia July Schedule


The Cuban Heritage Collection’s 2014-2015 Research Colloquia continues in July, highlighting the work of CHC Graduate Fellows. ​Colloquia are scheduled for 3 p.m. unless otherwise noted. RSVP to 305-284-4900 or chc@miami.edu.

    • Tuesday, July 1
      Ann Halbert Brooks, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (CHC Graduate Fellow)
      Teaching the Revolution: Growing the Cuban Culture of Education, 1959


    • Tuesday, July 8
      Fernanda Bretones Lane, Vanderbilt University (CHC Graduate Fellow)
      Cuba and the Caribbean in the Age of Revolutions


    • Thursday, July 24
      Kaitlyn Henderson, Tulane University (CHC Graduate Fellow)
      The Gospel of José Martí: Cuban Racial Discourse in the Twentieth Century


    • Thursday, July 31
      Alexander Eastman, Washington University in St. Louis (CHC Graduate Fellow)
      Binding Freedom: Cuba’s Black Public Sphere, 1868-1912


2014-2015 Research Colloquia Summer Schedule​

This month, we kick off the 2014-2015 CHC Research Colloquia. Graduate Fellows, Arts in the Cuban Republic Fellows, and other scholars will present on their research in the Cuban Heritage Collection. Join us for these presentations in the Elena Díaz Versón Amos Conference Room of the Roberto C. Goizueta Pavilion at the University of Miami’s Otto G. Richter Library. Colloquia are scheduled for 3 p.m. unless otherwise noted. RSVP to 305-284-4900 or chc@miami.edu.


    • Tuesday, June 17 at 2:30 p.m.
      Stephanie Panichelli-Batalla, Ph.D., Aston University, Great Britain (CHC Visiting Fellow)
      Life stories of Cuban internationalist health professionals


    • Tuesday, June 24
      Ann Halbert Brooks, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (CHC Graduate Fellow)
      Teaching the Revolution: Growing the Cuban Culture of Education, 1959


    • Thursday, June 26
      Elizabeth Cerejido, University of Florida (CHC Institutional Fellow)
      Creating a Cuban Art Archive at the CHC: Current Holdings and Future Directions


    • Tuesday, July 1
      Oscar Amaya, Georgetown University (CHC Graduate Fellow)
      Interdisciplinary Dialogue in Lydia Cabrera and Wifredo Lam’s Afro-Cuban Collaboration


    • Tuesday, July 8
      Fernanda Bretones Lane, Vanderbilt University (CHC Graduate Fellow)
      Cuba and the Caribbean in the Age of Revolutions


    • Thursday, July 24
      Kaitlyn Henderson, Tulane University (CHC Graduate Fellow)
      The Gospel of José Martí: Cuban Racial Discourse in the Twentieth Century


    • Thursday, July 31
      Alexander Eastman, Washington University in St. Louis (CHC Graduate Fellow)
      Binding Freedom: Cuba’s Black Public Sphere, 1868-1912