T4215 CUBA: PEOPLE, ARTS, AND HISTORY
January 6-29, 2014
Cuba (Havana, Varadero, Viñales) and Miami, Florida
Cuba offers students a unique opportunity to experience a strikingly different culture, one of the few remaining socialist states, and a formerly forbidden destination. In spite of its relatively small size, Cuba has exercised considerable influence in the world’s political and cultural history. A place of ethnic convergences between African, European, Native American, and even Asian peoples, Cuba is the birthplace of a rich and multifaceted culture. Its music is heard practically all over the world and has played an important part in shaping other traditions such as American jazz or the Nueva canción Latinoamericana. Today, it continues to inspire international composers and interpreters. Cuba is also distinguished for its dance forms (ranging from its Afrocuban religious celebrations to its classical ballet), its literary figures, visual arts, and international film school. In the decade of the Sixties, the Cuban Socialist revolution and its proclaimed ideals of social justice and equal opportunity stirred the impoverished peoples of Latin America and represented hope in social progress for innumerable people around the world. Later in the Sixties, divisions of opinion regarding Fidel Castro’s regime fractured many intellectual groups, also causing bitter divisions between Cubans and international observers alike. Today, even as the socialist experience in general, and Cuba’s in particular, is largely considered as a failure, the Cuban Revolution’s legend and its main figures (Ernesto “Che” Guevara, Fidel Castro, Camilo Cienfuegos) continue to inspire people who wish for a more equitable world. For all the above reasons, not to mention its geographic proximity and the large number of Cuban-Americans in the U.S., it is important for Americans to gain a better understanding of this unique nation. Our course seeks to understand Cuba’s history in the 20th century, especially in its areas of cross-pollination, intersection, and conflict with the U.S. In order to achieve this goal, we engage not only with academic and political discourses, but with a wide range of cultural manifestations including music, film, literature, and the visual arts. We also reserve a special time at the culmination of our course to devote to the Cuban exiles in Miami and to examine their experiences and perspectives.
*Each home institution may have supplementary fees in addition to the price listed.
Comprehensive Fee Includes: Transportation and course arrangements as indicated, hotel accommodations in twin and triple rooms, twenty breakfasts, three lunches and twenty-one dinners. (subject to change)
The course does not have any academic prerequisites.
Julia Sweig, ‘Cuba: What Everyone Needs to Know’ (New York: Oxford University Press, 2009). ISBN-10: 019538380X
Course Reading Packet (containing the articles and book selections listed in the itinerary)
25% Lively participation in classes and site visits
30% Final paper
Pilar Cabrera, Ph.D., Augustana College (605) 274-5524
Daniel Gerling, Ph.D., Augustana College (605) 271-4034
Description of Faculty Directors
Dr. Cabrera teaches in the Department of Modern Foreign Languages at Augustana College. She has a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the University of Texas at Austin. She specializes in 20th century and contemporary Cuban literature and culture. Her research interests include the influence of mass culture and media on literary works by diverse Cuban authors. In the summer of 2011 Dr. Cabrera spent two weeks doing research at Havana thanks to a grant from Augustana. In 2012 she returned to Havana to participate in an international colloquium on literature. These visits, as well as previous ones due to family reasons, have allowed her to gain a fair knowledge of contemporary Cuba, including writers, scholars, and places in Havana.
Dr. Gerling is an Adjunct Professor of English at Augustana College. He graduated from the Ph.D. program of American Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. His dissertation includes research on American policies on sanitation implemented in both Cuba and the Philippines during the Progressive era. As an instructor at the University of Texas at Austin, he designed and taught courses on the American Dream and American cultural diplomacy.
Final Application Deadline: October 1, 2013
For more information on course content, contact Prof. Pilar Cabrera
On application procedures or logistical information, contact your study abroad office.