Current News and Upcoming Events



Two forthcoming books


Rebecca Bodenheimer, GEOGRAPHIES OF CUBANIDAD, University of Mississippi Press.


Bodenheimer examines the presence of significant cultural/musical distance between eastern and western Cuba as well as the different meanings of “blackness” in various parts of the island. She lays bare the contradiction that eastern Cuba, widely regarded in Havana as the “Blackest” region of the island, is simultaneously celebrated as the cradle of the “mestizo” Son genre. Bodenheimer documents in impressive detail the rise in the last forty years of two new rumba styles, the batarumba and the guarapachangueo. This is a truly refreshing book about Cuban music and culture which, by connecting notions of race and place, explores the way in which musical practices define regional identities in the island.

Melissa Blanco Borelli, SHE IS CUBA: A GENEALOGY OF THE MULATA BODY, Oxford University Press.

Melissa challenges, or better yet, turns on its head, decades of writing in history, literature, and sociology about a character identified as the tragic mulata. She argues the contrary, re-writing the history and sociology of the mulata as an active agent by focusing on the mulatas’ historically active bodies, and specifically as the mulatas’ dancing bodies in Cuban popular music.


April 2015 lectures by UC-CUBA affiliates


APRIL 15: Teishan Latner, UCI History Ph.D., currently Research Associate at the Center for Black udies Research, University of California, Santa Barbara: " CUBAN REVOLUTION, U.S. LEFT:Race and Global Radicalism in 1960s America," Washington University in St. Louis, hosted by the Program in African and African American Studies. Wednesday, April 15, 2015, in Busch Room 18, 5:00pm - 7:00pm.


APRIL 16: 3-4:30, Elizabeth Schwall, Ph.D. Candidate, Columbia University, Visiting Graduate Student, UCSD, will present on "VALUING DANCE: The Politics of Patronage in the Cuban Republic," in the Deutz Room, Institute of the Americas Complex, UCSD. Material discussed from the first chapter of her dissertation on Cuban dance and politics.


APRIL 17: 2-3:30, also in the Deutz Room, Institute of the Americas Complex, UCSD, Anita Casavantes Bradford, Assistant Professor of Chicano Latino Studies and History at UC Irvine, leads a Book Discussion about her book THE REVOLUTION IS FOR THE CHILDREN: THE POLITICS OF CHILDHOOD IN HAVANA AND MIAMI, 1959-1962.


APRIL 30: Teishan Latner: "The Socialist Palenque: Cuba, Assata Shakur, and the Diplomatic Politics of Exile and Freedom," UC Santa Barbara, hosted by the Center for Black Studies Research. Thursday, April 30, 4603 South Hall, 4:00pm - 6:00pm



The Cuban Danzón


Venezuelan Super Star Conductor Gustavo Dudamel, with his youth orchestra, interpreting Mexican composer Arturo Márquez’ Cuban-inspired Danzón No.2.




UCLA Summer Program in Cuba


UCLA Cuba Program


Anita Casavantes-BradfordCuban Heritage Collection Recives $2 Million Gift

The Goizueta Foundation gift will endow a Graduate Fellowship Program and support the continued growth of the CHC.


By Barbara Gutierrez and Sarah Block

UM News

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (February 19, 2015) — In 2010, Anita Casavantes Bradford, a doctoral student at the University of California, San Diego, came to Miami to conduct historical research at the Cuban Heritage Collection (CHC) as part of the inaugural class of the Graduate Fellowship Program.




UC-Cuba affiliates weigh in on changing US-Cuba relations


Andrew Gomez on Public Radio


Andrew Gomez participated in a round-table discussion on

Santa Monica's KCRW on the recent changes on U.S.-Cuba relations. KCRW

is linked to NPR News. The participants in the round-table are listed below.



Ted Piccone, Brookings Institution

Carlos Alzugaray, former Cuban diplomat and political analyst, speaking fromHavana

Jorge Mas, Cuban American National Foundation (@vozdecanf)

Andrew Gomez, 29-year-old Cuban American

Ann Louise Bardach, journalist and author


Click Here to listen to the interview.



Professor Ayesha Nibbe on NPR

Click here to listen to the interview.








Teishan Latner in the Washington Post

Click here to read the article

UC Cuba Graduate Student Conference/Workshop

November 21, 2014 - Univeristy of California, Irvine

"Disentangling Cuban Publics"


Poster UC Cuba Conference 2014


[Download Program]


Havana Film Trip


This trip to the 2014 Film Festival in Havana may be of interest to all film lovers in UC-Cuba.


Havana Film Festival


For complete information CLICK HERE



CRI conference call for papers


This is a reminder that the deadline for submitting papers to next year’s Cuban Research Institute conference is October 31, 2014. The theme of the conference is "More Than White, More Than Mulatto, More Than Black": Racial Politics in Cuba and the Americas.
Four prominent experts on racial politics in Cuba and the Americas (Alejandro de la Fuente, Ada Ferrer, Andrea Jean Qeeley, and Danielle Pilar Clealand) will lead a plenary session at the conference, scheduled for February 26–28, 2015.


Click here for information.



Dr. Hanna Garth discusses Cuban cooking and cookbooks.

This article illustrates the ways communities maintain and adjust the boundaries of local cuisine as food systems change. Focusing on contemporary Cuban household cooking practices, I reveal the importance of cookbooks and television in helping household cooks adjust to food system changes. Through her cookbooks and television show, Nitza Villapol, a famous Cuban chef, played a significant role in demonstrating how to cook with a drastically restricted set of ingredients during and after the economic crisis of the 1990s. Her work aided Cubans in making adaptations without completely changing the local cuisine. This article outlines the scope of Villapol’s work, the relationship between her work and the Cuban state, and how Cubans remember her role in the 1990s and use her work today. I argue that Nitza Villapol’s work was crucial in helping Cuban household cooks learn to use available ingredients to create dishes that call for now scarce ingredients.



To Read Article Click Here




UC-CUBA Coordinator Raul Fernandez last visit with Luis Carbonell

May 30, 2014



On November 20, 2013, Professor Raul Fernandez visited the home of Maestro Carbonell in Vedado, La Habana. Shown in photo is the late Luis Mariano Carbonell autographing for Raul a copy of EL ARTE DE LUIS CARBONELL.


Cualquier valoración que se haga del arte de Luis Carbonell, Premio Nacional de Musica, habrá que partir de la premisa de que en este singular artista predominan, en su modo de hacer, la cultura, el talento y el rigor de todo lo que incorpora al repertorio a interpretar y a su peculiar manera de estudiar cada poema, cada estampa, para devolvérnoslo con un acabado, que de cierta manera hace suya la obra. «La poesía no es tan difícil, lo verdaderamente difícil es pulir un poema, declamar es precisamente lo más fácil para mí.»


Si ser pianista fue la ilusión más grande de su vida, algo que no pudo lograr, aportó, empero, una manera–su manera–de declamar Ia poesía y la estampa, que parte de su estudio profundo, de la captación de las imágenes; nadie ha podido decir como él, con la sabia y gracejo criollo, un poema como La negra Fuló, o el trágico dramatismo de Ia Elegía a Jesús Menéndez.

“Yo soy Van Van, yo soy Cuba…”

From the tune Soy todo, by Juan Formell


Juan Formell (1942-2014) contributed much to the revolution in Cuban dance music taking place in the 1970s and 1980s. He did so as the leader of Los Van Van, perhaps the most exciting dance band in the entire world during those decades (I will not dignify silly comparisons with other contemporary groups like the Rolling Stones!). Formell's tunes are part of the vast heritage of Cuba's dance music. Rather than a musicological explanation of why Formell was so important, it is more rewarding to listen to his emblematic compositions. Everyone has his or her favorites. Mine are: Ven y muévete ("covered" by Ruben Blades and Seis del Solar), El Guararey de Pastora (based on a traditional changüí and covered by Ray Barreto), Sandunguera (which received many covers), Ritmo Azúcar (covered by Celia Cruz among others), and El negro está cocinando. If Cuba is your subject of research and study, and you are not familiar with Formell’s music I invite you to listen to those tunes in the links provided by clicking the images below.


...Voy a publicar tu foto en la prensa…

Ven y Muevete

Guararey de Pastora


Ritmo Azucar

El Negro Está Cocinando

Armando Peraza: Lord of the Drum

(photo by Tom Ehrlich)


Armando Peraza, one of the most exciting bongo and conga players of all time passed away on April 14. Peraza rose to the top of his trade in several distinct rhythmic genres.


He excelled as a percussionist in traditional Cuban music, Latin jazz and Latin rock.


The "younger" generation knew Peraza as the conga drummer for SANTANA for whom he played for 17 years.


Before his Latin rock days Armando Peraza excelled in the Latin jazz combos of George Shearing and Cal Tjader in the 1950s and 1960s.


He was the famed bongo drummer for the Conjunto Kubavana in the 1940s in Havana.


Because of the inexactness of birth records Armando age was a bit of a mystery. A best guess is that he was born sometime between 1914-1916, thus he was probably 98 or 100 at the time of his death.


A resident of the Bay Area since the late 1940s Armando's playing was known to have impressed and influenced the poets of the "Beat" generation
in the San Francisco Area.


Among bongo and conga drummers, Peraza was regarded as a true virtuoso, unequaled as a bongo player and capable of amazing, flashy solos on conga drums.

Article by Dr. Louis Perez - April 2014

Dr. Pérez is the J. Carlyle Sitterson Professor of History and Director of the Institute for the Studies of the Americas at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and editor of Cuban Journal. His research and award-winning publications examine the history and identity of the nineteenth and twentieth century Caribbean, with a special focus on Cuba. Professor Perez just wrote the article attached, Cuba as an obsessive compulsive disorder, which deserves careful reading. RF.


Download Article


UC CUBA AT CHC March 20-21, 2014

Two of our UC-CUBA colleagues presented papers at the recent CHC conference at the University of Miami. You should be able to id Susannah Rodriguez Drissi and Anita Casavantes Bradford in the picture.


 View Original Image












April 18-19

Race in the Americas conference at the Claremont Graduate University. Several members of the UC-CUBA community are panelists and/or will be attending. Conference organized by the estimable Professor David Luis-Brown.


 Download Conference Program










Arts talk at UCLA - April 29


UCLA's School of the Arts and Architecture, along the UCLA Latin American Institute and department of World Arts and Cultures | Dance, presents doctoral student Andrew Martinez and University of Michigan professor Ashley Lucas in a performance lecture about their respective careers in performance and research.

During the summer of 2013 these two scholars traveled to Rio de Janeiro to research improvisational theatre practice inside two Brazilian prisons. For this presentation, Dr. Ashley Lucas and Andrew Martínez will perform a version of their journeys through arts practice and research - tracing the intersecting lines of scholarship, activism, theatre, rhythm, and dance-grappling with what performance can achieve within spaces where a government restricts its subjects' language, movement, and freedom of expression.


Join us for a Homeboy Industries pre-show reception hosted by the Center for Brazilian Studies at 6:30 PM in Glorya Kaufman Hall's Rainbow Lounge.

About the presenters:


Dr. Ashley Lucas is one of the world's leading experts about issues surrounding incarceration and theatre happening inside prisons now.


Andrew Martínez, a Culture and Performance PhD student, is writing an history of the Ballet Nacional de Cuba. He is interested in investigating how the arts function symbolically and culturally within a national context.



Lecture by Leonardo Padura - February 18


The Cuban Researc Institute (CRI) at Florida International University, School of International and Public Affairs will host a lecture by world renown Cuban author, Leonardo Padura, on Feb. 18th at 3:30pm in the GC Ballroom of FIU's Modesto M. Maidique Campus. We hope you will join us and advise anyone who may be interested of the same. RSVP is requested to attend, please click on the link below to RSVP. If you should have any questions, please call us at











Remembering Katherine Hagedorn - November 15, 2013


In 1994 I was invited to give a lecture at Pomona College on some aspects of Cuban music. As it often happens in these kinds of events, there were some problems with the audiovisual equipment, with the arrangements of seats, etc. Fortunately there was a person there who ran around quickly, got all the equipment to work, rearranged the seating, made sure my microphone was clipped in the best place and got me water. At the end of my lecture that same person was busy re-organizing the room, helping the tech people with the equipment, picking up. I thought it was really nice of Pomona College to assign a person, probably a staffer, to basically attend to my needs so I walked up to her, after all the questions were answered and the session was finished, to thank her. I found out that her name was Katherine Hagedorn and that she was a faculty member in the Music Department at Pomona College. That first encounter captures for me something I will remember about Katherine: a most helpful, caring, and generous person, who always thought of others before she thought of herself. As a child I was told that “quién no vive para servir, no sirve para vivir,” which is difficult to render into English, but could be translated as “Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.” That is the life that Katherine lived.


In the years that followed Katherine and I became very close professionally. We read and critiqued each other’s work, met frequently to discuss the scholarly and popular literature on Cuban music, salsa and jazz, attended a wide variety of music and dance events, worked jointly on a variety of projects, and wrote supporting letters of evaluation for each other. She showed me new and different ways to listen to and appreciate music. I watched in amazement as she mastered the batá drums under the tutelage of Francisco Aguabella. Personally I became aware of Katherine’s profound spirituality.


In December of last year (2012) Katherine and I traveled to Cuba for a week to continue our respective research agendas. We spent many hours together. Presumably we were going to make progress on a joint manuscript on contemporary Cuban music we’ve been working on for a year or so. We did make some progress but not much because being in Katherine’s company a great deal of the time was spent laughing and telling stories. That trip to Cuba captures for me another thing I will remember about Katherine: her sense of humor, her uncanny ability to mimic other people in a funny yet totally sympathetic way, her smile, and her laughter.


Katherine was kind, generous, funny, simpática, and very spiritual.


Katherine was one of the most soulful persons I have ever met.


Raul Fernandez




“Tu santita” By Elba Capote (Translated by Daniel Whitesell)


I have many memories of “Katy” [“Kathy”], but now that I realize that I will only be able to see her again through my soul and my heart, images come to me of “Katy” riding all around Havana on a bicycle, and she had a yellow bicycle in honor of the patroness saint of Cuba, Our Lady of Charity (Our Lady of El Cobre), and one time she told me:


“Elbita, if I disappear on the streets of Havana, I want you to take care of the bicycle, because you are my ‘santita’ [protector or guardian angel],”


And I don’t know if I have remained at her side as her “santita,” but I do know that she has become a very important part of my life; we have been together for all of the many times she came to Cuba to research music and drumming, and all of the times she couldn’t come to Cuba. Our friendship was tested at times and we also enjoyed great moments together and “Katy” was always so nice and friendly, so good, and strong minded, and so intelligent.


“Katy,” I’m very sorry (you don’t know how much so) that I did not have the opportunity to say good bye to you, that I wasn’t able to be by your side like the real “santitas,” but even though you’re far away, you will always be at my side, and we will laugh again together about everything, because you will always be with me, you remain with me as my dear friend in my heart, and this for me is enough.


Good bye, dear “Katy,” you have already joined those little angles who protect us.


I love you so much.


Your “Santita”



Original Spanish Version


Tengo muchas imágenes de Katy, pero ahora que sé que no la veré de otra forma que no sea a través de mi alma y de mi corazón, me vienen imágenes de Katy por toda La Habana en bicicleta, y ella tenía una bicicleta amarilla en honor a la virgencita de la Caridad del Cobre, y una vez me dijo,


"Elbita, si yo desaparezco en las calles de La Habana quiero que me cuides la bicicleta, porque tú eres mi santita,"


Y yo no sé si he permanecido a su lado como su santita, pero sí sé que ella se ha convertido en una parte muy importante de mi vida, hemos permanecido juntas durante todos sus estudios de música, de tambor, todas las veces que estuvo en Cuba, y todas las veces que no pudo llegar a Cuba, y nuestra amistad pasó grandes pruebas y disfrutó grandes momentos y Katy siempre tan linda y amable, tan buena, y cabeza dura, y tan inteligente.


Katy: lamento mucho, no sabes cuánto, no haber podido despedirme de ti, no haber podido estar a tu lado como las verdaderas santitas pero, aunque lejos, siempre estarás a mi lado, y nos volveremos a reír de todo, porque yo nunca voy a aceptar que no estés, tú te quedas como mi amiguita de mi corazón, y eso para mí es suficiente.


Chao, Katy querida, ya formas partes de esos pequeños ángeles que nos protegen.


Te quiero mucho,


"tu santita"






Afro-Cuban Culture at the CRI - November 20, 2013




Professor Nancy Burke

Cuba's health system - October 17, 2013



The Cuban healthcare system is evoked as a symbol of revolutionary success and counterhegemonic possibility for health practitioners, scholars, journalists, and politicians around the world. Cuban government statistics on infant mortality, infectious disease control, and physician/patient ratios are heralded as “first world numbers” emerging from “third world conditions.” Experienced firsthand by those in countries hosting Cuba doctors and returning medical students trained at the Latin American School of Medicine (Escuela Latinoamericana de Medicina or ELAM) outside of Havana, the Cuban model travels both practically and ideologically. Building upon the recently published Health Travels: Cuban Health (care) on and off the Island (UC Medical Humanities Press 2013), Dr. Burke will discuss how ethnographic accounts of the daily lived reality of the production and reproduction of this healthcare system lend complexity to exceptional claims and illustrate the creative labor involved in the provision of care in the context of scarcity and rapid change.