The Bildner Center: Lectures on Cosmopolitan Cuba


The Bildner Center’s Cuba Project presents “Cosmopolitan Cuba,” including two presentations and a discussion session moderated by Licia Fiol-Matta (The Graduate Center and Lehman College, CUNY). Jacqueline Loss (University of Connecticut) will deliver the paper “Dreaming in Russian: The Cuban Soviet Imaginary” and José Quiroga (Emory University) will present “Cabrera Infante Pop.” The event will take place on Monday, April 15, 2013, at 4:00pm at The Graduate Center (Room 9206/07) at 365 Fifth Avenue (at 34th Street) in New York.


“Dreaming in Russian: The Cuban Soviet Imaginary”—Loss’ presentation will discuss the ways in which Cuba’s relationship to its Soviet benefactors lingered after the disintegration of the U.S.S.R. in 1991. Analyzing numerous literary texts and works of visual art, Loss also incorporates aspects of architecture, popular culture, the space race, and other strands to create a captivating new perspective on Cuban society. She will show that Cuba remembers and retains many aspects of the Soviet era, far from shedding those cultural facets as relics of the Cold War.

Jacqueline Loss is Associate Professor of Spanish. She is author of Cosmopolitanisms and Latin America: Against the Destiny of Place (2005), and co-editor of Caviar with Rum: Cuba-USSR and the post-Soviet Experience (2012), and of New Short Fiction from Cuba (2007). Her research interests are Latin American Literary and Cultural Studies, Cuba, and Comparative approaches.

“Cabrera Infante Pop”—Quiroga’s presentation will examine Guillermo Cabrera Infante’s London period, particularly his work as a scriptwriter in the movies Wonderwall (1968) and Vanishing Point (1971), as well as his collection of essays O (1975). Cabrera Infante went into exile during the first years of the Revolution, and arrived in London when a cultural revolution was developing in this city. His relationship with pop art appears interesting when the agreements and disagreements between the Revolution (and its transnational flows) and the expression of youth revolt of the 60s of the twentieth century are examined. Faced with such exchanges and events, Cabrera Infante not only seems to be a highly integrated writer into the present, but one who takes an openly anachronistic role (as a participant at the same time as a critical consciousness).

José Quiroga is Professor of Spanish. He is author of Mapa Callejero (2010), Law of Desire: A Queer Film Classic (2009), Cuban Palimpsests (2005), Tropics of Desire: Interventions from Queer Latino America (2001), and others. He is co-editor of the book series New Directions in Latino American Cultures.

Moderator Licia Fiol-Matta is Associate Professor in the Department of Latin American and Puerto Rican Studies (Lehman College and The Graduate Center, CUNY). She is author of A Queer Mother for the Nation: The State and Gabriela Mistral (2002). Her book The Politics of Voice: Gender and Popular Music in Puerto Rico, 1935-1995 will be published by Duke University Press.

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Image above: A travel poster from the 1950s from

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