Goizueta Fellows: In Their Own Words

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 fifth fellow of the series, Vida Owusu-Boateng, will discuss her work in a CHC Research Colloquium on Monday, August 15, 3 p.m., at CHC’s Roberto C. Goizueta Pavilion. All are welcome to attend this presentation.

About Vida Owusu-Boateng

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Goizueta Fellow Vida Owusu-Boateng is pursuing her Ph.D. in comparative literature at Louisiana State University.

Vida Owusu-Boateng is a second year Ph.D. student at Louisiana State University concentrating in comparative literature.

What university/program are you from?

The Comparative Literature Program at Louisiana State University

What are you working on?

My research focuses on the reception of ancient Greek tragedy in Africa and the African diaspora, specifically in Cuba and South Africa. As part of my preliminary research for my dissertation prospectus, I focus on the dramatic and critical outputs of two Cuban playwrights: Virgilio Piñera’s Electra Garrigó (1941) and José Triana’s Medea en el Espejo (1960), and their performance history in Cuba, Miami, and the Caribbean world. These works are important for exploring the political, historical, and cultural situation of Cuba and the Caribbean at large. Piñera’s experimental drama, Electra Garrigó, is one of the earliest receptions of ancient tragedy in the Caribbean as a whole and it is widely regarded as marking the beginning of Cuba’s theatrical modernism and the avant-garde and absurdist theater in the Caribbean. These authors cubanize and revolutionize Greek tragedy and its reception in both Cuba and the Cuban diaspora by situating these Greek myths in a Cuban imaginary to interrogate present political, cultural, historical, and social issues. By cubanizing these myths, Triana and Piñera establish a connection between the oral traditions of ancient Greece and the hybrid transculturation and diasporic nature of Cuban culture and society.
I am particularly interested in the historical and cultural context that influenced these artists and playwrights and their artistic choices towards these ancient works. Specifically, my research focuses on how the plays by Piñera and Triana have created an economics of cultural exchange, of loss and gain of identity, negotiated over a considerable period of time between Cuba, Africa and the West. These Cuban examples offer a valuable insight into the potential of —and especially the limits of—Classical dramas to address fraught political and social realities in the modern world.

What do you expect to find at CHC?

During my visit to the Cuban Heritage Collection (CHC), I hope to consult a wide array of materials about the literary and artistic scene in Cuba and other Cuban diaspora locales from the 1940s through the 1970s, an era that envelopes the development of Cuba’s modernist theater. Miami and other Cuban diasporic locales represent important Cuban diasporic locations where plays will be staged regularly with numerous alterations to interrogate issues of exile, identity, race, homeland, and nation. Studying these works will open up important insights and counterpoints to the construction of Cuban identities through time and space in and beyond Cuba and thus broaden the reception history of these works.

How can we learn more about your research?

I will be talking about my project in a CHC Research Colloquium* on August 15, 3 p.m., at the Roberto C. Goizueta Pavilion. Additionally this study will culminate in a monograph and hopefully I will publish some of my findings as articles in research journals.

*Colloquia are free and open to the public. Contact us at chc@miami.edu for more information.



Goizueta Fellows: In Their Own Words

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 fourth fellow of the series, James Wilkey, will discuss his work in a CHC Research Colloquium on Thursday, August 11, 3 p.m., at CHC’s Roberto C. Goizueta Pavilion. All are welcome to attend this presentation.

About James Wilkey

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Goizueta Fellow James Wilkey is pursuing his Ph.D. in Latin American history at Louisiana State University.

James Wilkey is a third year Ph.D. student at Louisiana State University, where he studies Cuban-American diasporic culture. James received his M.A. at Queen’s University Belfast in Northern Ireland and his bachelor’s degree at the University of Florida.

What university/program are you from?

The Department of Latin American History at Louisiana State University

What are you working on?

I’m exploring the relationship between the early decades of the Cuban and Mexican film industries. Specifically, I’m looking at Mexico’s prominent role in establishing a Spanish-language industry aimed at Latin America broadly and how that industry impacted, and was impacted by, Cubans. I’m also interested in determining what role this connections had, if any, in Cuban movement to Mexico.

What do you expect to find at CHC?

I hope to find periodicals and papers related to the industry that will help me better understand the way Cubans imagined Mexico through its prominent presence in Latin American pop culture. I hope to encounter correspondence or other evidence clarifying the extent to which Mexican and Cuban filmmakers encountered, worked with, and influenced each other. I’m also curious to see how concepts of “Nuestra America” and the idea of an interconnected Latin America, coupled with competition from Hollywood, impacted the images of Latin America that Cuban and Mexican filmmakers put on screen.

How can we learn more about your research?

I will be talking about my project in a CHC Research Colloquium* on August 11, 3 p.m., at the Roberto C. Goizueta Pavilion. I invite anyone interested in learning more about my research to contact me through my email: jwilk33@lsu.edu.

*Colloquia are free and open to the public. Contact us at chc@miami.edu for more information.

About the Goizueta Foundation Graduate Fellowships Program

The Goizueta Foundation Graduate Fellowships Program provides assistance to doctoral students who wish to use the research resources available in the University of Miami Cuban Heritage Collection (CHC) in support of dissertation research. The goal of these fellowships is to engage emerging scholars with the materials available in the Cuban Heritage Collection and thus contribute to the larger body of scholarship in Cuban, hemispheric, and international studies.

For more information about fellowship opportunities to study at the Cuban Heritage Collection or to learn about past fellows, click here.





Goizueta Fellows: In Their Own Words

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 third fellow of the series, Rachel Emily Pérez, will discuss her work in a CHC Research Colloquium on Tuesday, August 2, 3 p.m., at CHC’s Roberto C. Goizueta Pavilion. All are welcome to attend this presentation.

About Rachel Emily Pérez

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Goizueta Fellow Rachel Emily Pérez is pursuing her Ph.D. in American Studies and African American Studies at Yale University.

Rachel Emily Pérez is a doctoral student in Yale University’s joint program in American Studies and African American Studies. Prior to that, she worked as an intern and researcher at Dr. Rafael Ma. Moscoso National Botanical Garden in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. She is a recipient of the 2016 Yale RITM Center Fellowship, which she is using to conduct additional archival and ethnographic research in Miami. In 2015 she received a Tinker Field Grant to conduct independent ethnographic and archival research in Havana, Cuba. In 2013, she received a Bachelor of Arts degree in history, anthropology, linguistics, and Spanish from the University of Georgia’s Honors Program, where she worked as a teaching and research assistant.

What university/program are you from?

I am from Yale University’s Joint Ph.D. Program in American Studies and African American Studies.

What are you working on?

I am investigating healing and religious practices among Cubans on the island and in the diaspora in the 20th and 21st centuries. More specifically, I am looking at the interactions between “alternative,” “traditional,” and “conventional” practices among this demographic, and the role of language and rhetoric in these interactions. I am additionally interested in the role of discourse in forging distinct categories such as “medicine” versus “religion.”

What do you expect to find at the CHC?

I expect to find a wide range of primary documents pertinent to my project. These include anthropological studies of healing-religious practices such as those found in the Lydia Cabrera Papers and in the Diana G Kirby Papers. I additionally hope to perform close readings of texts on health and medicine produced within the field of biology, such as those found in the Hady López papers. I additionally hope to learn more about Cuban immigrants’ healing-religious practices in many of the interviews from the Luis J. Botifoll Oral History Project.

How can we learn more about your research?

I will be talking about my project in a CHC Research Colloquium* on August 2, 3 p.m., at the Roberto C. Goizueta Pavilion.

*Colloquia are free and open to the public. Contact us at chc@miami.edu for more information.

About the Goizueta Foundation Graduate Fellowships Program

The Goizueta Foundation Graduate Fellowships Program provides assistance to doctoral students who wish to use the research resources available in the University of Miami Cuban Heritage Collection (CHC) in support of dissertation research. The goal of these fellowships is to engage emerging scholars with the materials available in the Cuban Heritage Collection and thus contribute to the larger body of scholarship in Cuban, hemispheric, and international studies.

For more information about fellowship opportunities to study at the Cuban Heritage Collection or to learn about past fellows, click here.