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.



Florida Menu Collection: A New Taste of Florida History

By Yvette Yurubi, Reference Assistant, Special Collections

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The Buccaneer Lodge in Marathon, Florida, was a famous resort in the Florida Keys. This menu highlights some of the local seafood dishes.

There is much to be learned about a region’s culture and economy through looking at something as commonplace as a simple restaurant menu. Some of the world’s oldest menus trace back to clay tablets written by the Sumerians who devoted time to listing out foods that they would serve their gods. Since then, menus have become a daily part of our lives, so much so that they tend to go unnoticed beyond their utilitarian purposes. But they also have an important use in libraries and archives, shedding light on moments in time and highlighting changes in the world at large.

In a general sense, menus provide a very graphic and immediate window into the way economy, class, and cuisine affect one another. If you ever want to know where the upper echelons of any society chose to dine or what cuisine they revered as their finest, there is no better source than menus. Hotel and cruise menus, in particular, capture the cultural conscience in terms of what can be classified as luxury and exotic dining while menus for local eateries capture what the working class and less affluent chose to eat on a daily basis. Furthermore, they depict how the nation’s fluctuating GDP and increase or limits in global trade affected the prices of common, regional dishes and foreign dishes over time, showing the delicate interplay between supply and demand.

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Left: A mid-century menu from the Fleur de Lis Room, an iconic restaurant located inside the Fontainebleau Hotel on Miami Beach which hosted performances by Elvis and Frank Sinatra. Right: Menu cover from Little Havana’s China City, today known as Oriental Restaurant.

Florida’s menus, in particular, exhibit the rich history of the many diasporas that make up the state’s diverse population and a growing maritime and agricultural economy as new businesses started to emerge throughout the 1900s. The previous uninhabited swamp lands of Florida were purchased by visionaries like George E. Merrick, founder of Coral Gables, who sought to turn these lands into profit, thus aiding Florida in becoming an agricultural center that quickly expanded and prospered over time. As Florida’s land grew more attractive to other business moguls due to the year-round warm temperatures, its prime fishing locations, and its beautiful beaches, the hospitality industry also flourished.

In the 1960s and the decades that followed, mass diaspora from the Caribbean islands contributed to a dramatic cultural shift that had also affected the local cuisine, particularly in South Florida. Spanish and Caribbean food were rapidly becoming a staple there, introducing native Floridians and vacationers to a new array of dishes and flavors that would eventually expand internationally over time. These trends could be observed in the way traditional American dishes were being replaced by a growing obsession among food enthusiasts in fusion cuisine. The onset of the new millennium also brought about more awareness to health issues and lifestyle choices, paving the way for gluten-free, low-fat, and vegetarian dishes becoming ubiquitous among modern restaurant menus.

As part of our initiative to document Florida’s unique and evolving cultural history, we have been collecting menus from all over Florida and adding them our new Florida Menu Collection. We invite you now to come bring us all the menus you happen to find while dining out or strewn among your old belongings and to donate them to the University of Miami Special Collections department here on the 8th Floor of the Otto G. Richter Library.

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This Miami Beach eatery was also popular in the 1950s.



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.



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 second fellow of the series, Mariel Martínez Alvarez, will discuss her work in a CHC Research Colloquium on Monday, August 1, 3 p.m., at CHC’s Roberto C. Goizueta Pavilion. All are welcome to attend this presentation.

About Mariel Martínez Alvarez

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Goizueta Fellow Mariel Martínez Alvarez is pursuing her Ph.D. in Spanish at the University of Michigan.

 

Mariel Martínez Alvarez is a Ph.D. student in Spanish at the University of Michigan. She is interested in Cuban literatures across the diaspora and is planning to write her dissertation on Cuban American literature and culture. Previously Mariel was a teaching assistant at Washington University in St. Louis, where she received her M.A. in Hispanic literatures. She also earned an M.A. in comparative literature at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, where she defended her dissertation, titled “Subjectivity, Fiction and Dictatorial Power in Reinaldo Arenas’s The Color of Summer or the New Garden of Earthly Delights.” She received her bachelor’s degree in literature from the Universidad de las Américas Puebla in Mexico.

What university/program are you from?

I am a Ph.D. student at the University of Michigan. I am completing my Ph.D. in Spanish in the Romance Languages and Literatures department.
What are you working on?

I am researching the Cuban diaspora in Spain and in the United States.

What do you expect to find at the CHC?

In the CHC I expect to find unpublished essays, correspondence, and articles of and about the Cuban poet Gastón Baquero, who was engaged with the Batista government and went to Spain after the triumph of the revolution. As a public intellectual during the Francoism, I am interested in analyzing his production of a colonial imaginary when narrating the dynamics between Cuba and Spain.

How can we learn more about your research?

I will be talking about my project in a CHC Research Colloquium* on August 1, 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.