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Course Information

Instructor Info:Flavio Risech-Ozeguera
Office Extension x5504
Carol Bengelsdorf
Office Extension x5402
TA Info:Jo Nguyen
Term: 2012F
Meeting Info: Tuesday Thursday
10:30 AM - 11:50 AM Franklin Patterson Hall (FPH) 107
10:30 AM - 11:50 AM Franklin Patterson Hall (FPH) 107

How do we study a reality as complex and contested as that of contemporary Cuba? What intellectual, political and affective frameworks do we have available? What images of Cuba circulating in US popular and official culture do we have to recognize and perhaps displace to even begin? What are and have been the competing lenses for examining Cuban history? The Cuban Revolution? The post-1989 period? Can we extricate Cuba from the Cold War frameworks that have dominated US academic (and US political) approaches to the island, at least until recently, moving from "Cubanology" to "Cuban Studies," reinserting Cuba into academic arrangements made in her absence? How then do we locate Cuba analytically-as part of the Caribbean [with its history of plantation economies and slavery]? Latin America [conquered by the Spanish, and strongly influenced by the Cuban Revolution]? In relation to the US [with its "ties of singular intimacy"] ? To other socialist or "post-socialist" countries? As a significant part of the African diaspora? As part of worldwide neoliberal restructuring of economies, cultures, politics? This course will challenge the view of Cuban "exceptionalism," the view of Cuba as unique, unrelated politically, culturally, economically, or historically to the forces and imaginaries that have shaped other parts of the world. We will ask how race, gender, and sexuality have figured in defining the Cuban nation. Finally we will analyze the development of exilic culture and ideology in Miami, "Cuba's second largest city."

Evaluation Criteria:

Attendance is required; anyone missing more than 3 class sessions without documentation of good cause (illness, accident or bereavement) risks receiving no evaluation. Please be on time.

All writing assignments must be completed on or before due date; NO EXCEPTIONS unless for good cause (as above) and arranged IN ADVANCE. Late work will otherwise not be evaluated. Incompletes will not be given. Read this paragraph again.

You are expected to come to class prepared for discussion of that day's readings. Reading blog postings: The reading blogs are intended to help you think thorough the material you have read. Reading other students blogs is also helpful; you are encouraged to read and post responses to them whenever possible. Postings must be done before 11:59pm of the day before the material is listed on the syllabus. A grand total of 14 postings is required as a minimum. Late postings may not be read or count toward the minimum.

While some are more eager than others to participate, everyone should make an effort to contribute to the class discussions. It is fine to ask basic questions: if you don’t understand something chances are good that others are feeling the same. Take risks, raise your hand, ask.

All your written work (with our comments on it) should be saved for submission in a final portfolio at the conclusion of the semester. Due dates and instructions will be provided in due course for each assignment.

Additional Info:

Required Books

Dick Cluster and Rafael Hernandez, History of Havana (New York: Palgrave-Macmillan, 2006)

Lee Lockwood, Castro's Cuba, Cuba's Fidel  

Louis Perez, Cuba: Between Reform and Revolution (any edition, Oxford U. Press)

Recommended Books

Cirilio Villaverde, Cecilia Valdés (English trans. Oxford, 2005) or Spanish original

Louis Perez, Cuba and the American Imagination: Metaphor and Imperial Ethos (Chapel Hill: U. of North Carolina Press, 2008)

Louis Perez, On Becoming Cuban. Chapel Hill: U. of North Carolina Press, 2007.

Lillian Guerra, Visions of Power in Cuba: Revolution, Redemption, and Resistance, 1959-1971. Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 2012. (To be published Oct 2012).