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 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.





UM Libraries Celebrates South Florida’s Caribbean Voices

By Sarah Block

Click the image to view all interviews online.

In his work as a corporate attorney Marlon Hill represents artists and creatives in the South Florida area seeking to build a brand. Outside of the courtroom, however, Hill is an advocate for those who are grappling with issues of identity as individuals in a new land and culture.

“I feel very strongly about helping any student who is going through a process of acclimation, assimilation, and integration,” he explains in his oral history interview at the University of Miami Special Collections as part of its new Caribbean Diaspora Oral History Project. “The success of that person and that person’s family is dependent on how those three areas of immigration are. They can make or break a family.”

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Artist Edouard Duval Carrie shared his story at Special Collections in the Caribbean Diaspora Oral History Project. Highlights from each of the oral history interviews are available on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Hill, a Miami resident originally from Jamaica, said his own struggles in the immigration process as a teenager fueled a desire for mentoring new immigrants, as early as his college years. Today he joins a growing list of South Florida community members of Caribbean origin who are telling their stories in the series sponsored by the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs.

So far, more than 20 individuals, including photojournalist Carl Juste, TV Producer/host Elizabeth Guérin, and artist Edouard Duval Carrie have taken part in the series, which spans topics surrounding their various experiences and contributions to the South Florida community in such areas as art and media, education, entrepreneurship, and activism.

“Our interviewees are individuals who are actively involved in a creative blending of their immigration experience with their lives in the United States,” said Special Collections’ Manuscripts Librarian Beatrice Skokan, who led the project, at a July 13 celebration of the series that recognized its first group of participants.

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UM Libraries Manuscripts Librarian Beatrice Skokan thanks donors during the reception.

Skokan describes the series as an important initiative for Special Collections and its Caribbean Archive, which houses rare maps, books, and correspondence as well as materials that document modern life and families of the Caribbean basin. “The South Florida region, with its multiplicity of migrations, has become an ideal setting for the historical documentation of hemispheric encounters,” Skokan says. “This is about documenting the experience of people who inhabited Caribbean regions from their point of view—unedited by another’s gaze and interpretation.”

Many of the department’s most rare and historical Caribbean materials, dating back to the 1700s, were donated by some of UM’s earliest supporters, underscoring one of the region’s and the University’s enduring strengths. At his January inauguration, President Julio Frenk described a “hemispheric” aspiration as one of four defining visions for the future of the University.

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Oral history donors Marlon Hill (second from right) and Elizabeth Guérin (right) with guests at Special Collections’ Caribbean Voices reception.

The ongoing series is now accessible to students, scholars, and the general public for research on a variety of topics related to South Florida’s Caribbean diaspora. It currently features individuals of Haitian, Dominican, Bahamian, Venezuelan, Cuban, and Colombian origins, among others, with the intent of continued growth as new funding becomes available.

Interviews, which were conducted by Julio Estorino and Lucrèce Louisdhon-Louinis along with Skokan, are accessible from UM Libraries’ website. Additional oral history projects of UM Libraries include the Haitian Diaspora Oral Histories; the Cuban Heritage Collection’s Luis J. Botifoll Oral History Project and Human Rights Oral History Project; and collaborations with National Public Radio’s StoryCorps, including StoryCorps Historias and StoryCorps Military Voices Initiative (carried out with the nonprofit Warmamas), which is currently in process.

Current participants of the Caribbean Diaspora Oral History Project include:

Elizabeth Baez, Artist/Educator

Firelei Báez, Artist

Ronald Bilbao, Legislative Specialist

Lucy Canzoneri-Golden, Artist/Educator

Tiberio Castellanos, Journalist

Edouard Duval Carrié, Artist

Elizabeth Guérin, TV Producer/Host

Roberto Guzmán, Linguist/Writer

Marlon Hill, Attorney

Carl Juste, Photojournalist

Fr. Alejandro López, Priest

Gepsie Metellus, Community Leader

Francisco Portillo, Immigration Activist

María Rodriguez, Activist

Ruby Romero-Issaev, Producer/Marketing Director

Nora Sandigo, Immigration Activist

Althea “Vicki” Silvera, Archivist

Patricia Sowers, Nonprofit Director

Nixon St. Hubert (DJ Nickymix), DJ/Producer

Federico Uribe, Artist

Dr. Freddie G. Young, Educator/Community Leader

This project is sponsored in part by the Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, the Florida Council of Arts, and the State of Florida. If you are interested in learning more about this collection, or to recommend someone for this project, please call 305-284-3247.

Event photos by Mitchell Zachs.



Dr. Alejandro Portes Launches Latest Work at CHC

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by Meiyolet Méndez and Sarah Block

On Wednesday, March 30, the Cuban Heritage Collection hosted the North American launch of the book The State and the Grassroots: Immigrant Transnational Organizations in Four Continents. The book, which explores immigration topics through the lens of sociology and public health, was co-edited by Alejandro Portes, University of Miami Professor of Sociology and Law. The event was co-presented with the Miami Institute for the Americas and UM’s Department of Sociology.

A panel of experts, including David Abraham (University of Miami Professor of Law), Jorge Dominguez (Harvard University Academy for International and Area Studies Chair), and Felicia Knaul (University of Miami Professor and Director of the Miami Institute for the Americas), examined Dr. Portes’ work. President Julio Frenk delivered the closing remarks.

_NN25772Portes described his inspiration for the book as “the way immigrants organize to both defend themselves and their identities. They promote their well-being in the receiving countries as well as protagonism in the regions and countries from which they came.”

One key finding of his work is that in many cases immigration as a cyclical process, in which people move back and forth between home and receiving countries, is not a “zero-sum game.” “People are very much attached to the culture and language that they came from, and such attachments are not inimical to successful cultural and political incorporation in the receiving country,” he said.

In the closing remarks, President Julio Frenk, who earned his doctorate in sociology from the University of Michigan, said the book allowed him to revisit his scholarly roots. “I enjoyed reading both the insights and the arcane language of my colleagues in the social sciences,” he said. He also noted the event marked his first book launch since becoming president of the University of Miami. “These events greatly contribute to the intellectual vigor of our institution.”

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Join us for “The Future of Academic Publishing” on April 20 at 4 p.m.

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The Future of Academic Publishing
Wednesday, April 20, 2016
4 p.m.

Otto G. Richter Library, 3rd floor
University of Miami | 1300 Memorial Drive | Coral Gables, FL 33146

Presented with the University of Miami Center for Humanities.
This event is free and open to the public. Registration Required.

REGISTER NOW

What will the university press of the future look like? This panel, intended for faculty and graduate students in the humanities as well as librarians, will begin by laying out the current status of academic publishing (e.g., impact of the e-book; declining library sales; consequence of the acquisition of presses by conglomerates); it will then turn to discuss prospects for the future (e.g., publishing on digital platforms that enable interactive features; open access). Topics to be addressed include coming changes in the nature of publishing operations, business models, and organizational contexts.

About the Presenters

Peter Berkery has been executive director of the Association of American University Presses since early 2013. He was previously vice president and publisher for the US Law Division at Oxford University Press. Berkery has a B.A. in classical studies from Boston College, an M.A. and a J.D. from American University, as well as a Master of Laws in Taxation from George Washington University.

Peter Potter, who was editor-in-chief at Cornell University Press since 2006, became Director of Publishing Strategy for University Libraries at Virginia Tech in January 2016. Before Cornell, he worked at The Pennsylvania State University Press as editor-in-chief and associate director. Potter has been a leader in efforts to integrate new technologies into scholarly publishing practices. He received his bachelor’s degree in history from Virginia Tech and his master’s degree in history from the University of Virginia.



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.



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 »


CHC Research Colloquia July Schedule

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

    • Tuesday, July 21
      Juan Carlos Medel Toro, University of California Davis (visiting researcher)
      Revolución, democracia y la dictadura del proletariado: Los Comités de Defensa de la Revolución y el Estado Cubano. Discursos y Prácticas
      In Spanish
    • 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
      In Spanish