11th Conference on Cuban and Cuban-American Studies

key-west-cigars

The Cuban Research Institute (CRI) and the Steven J. Green School of International and Public Affairs at Florida International University (FIU) present the 11th Conference on Cuban and Cuban-American Studies, organized around the theme “Beyond Perpetual Antagonism: Reimagining U.S.-Cuba Relations.” The conference will begin this week, February 23-25, 2017, from 8:30am to 5:45pm at the Graham Center Ballrooms, FIU Modesto A. Maidique Campus, in Miami, Florida. The conference is dedicated to music collector, researcher, and author Cristóbal Díaz Ayala.

Description: The Cuban Research Institute (CRI) of Florida International University continues its tradition of convening scholars and other persons interested in the study of Cuba and Cuban Americans by holding its Eleventh Conference. We encouraged the submission of panels and papers concentrating on any aspects of the main conference theme, but considered all submissions relevant to the history, economy, politics, culture, society, and creative expression of Cuba and its diaspora.

On March 1, 1975, then Secretary of State Henry Kissinger declared: “We see no virtue in perpetual antagonism between the United States and Cuba.” Nonetheless, Kissinger’s efforts to reengage with Cuba failed after Fidel Castro sent combat troops to Angola in April 1975. Thirty years passed until the two Cold War enemies restored diplomatic relations. Cuba’s close ties to the former Soviet Union, military interventions in Africa, and constant attempts to export its revolution made it difficult to maintain peaceful coexistence with the United States. In turn, the U.S. trade embargo of Cuba, in addition to numerous covert operations to subvert Castro’s socialist regime, buttressed a “siege mentality” on the Island for decades. Finally, on December 17, 2014 (D17), Barack Obama and Raúl Castro announced that they would take steps to “normalize” relations between the United States and Cuba. The two countries reopened embassies in their respective capitals on July 20, 2015.

The Eleventh Conference on Cuban and Cuban-American Studies takes Kissinger’s memorable expression, “perpetual antagonism,” as a cue for further academic inquiry and public debate. Our main theme, Beyond Perpetual Antagonism: Reimagining U.S.-Cuba Relations, invites interdisciplinary approaches to the multiple, complex, and often conflicting links between the two countries, both historically and in current times. Although we welcomed discussions about the recent situation and the future of U.S.-Cuba relations, we invited a thorough retrospective examination of the social, economic, political, and cultural dimensions of the intertwined histories of the two countries, at least since the late 18th century. We were especially interested in assessing the contribution of the Island’s diasporas in the United States to imagining Cuba Libre (“a free Cuba”) from the Spanish colonial period to this day.

For further information about the conference and other CRI activities, please call (305) 348–1991 or write cri.fiu.conference@gmail.com.

[Image above: Key West Cigar Box Label, 1898. DeWolfe and Wood Collection / Monroe County Public Library.]

For more information, see https://cri.fiu.edu/events/2017/eleventh-conference-on-cuban-and-cuban-american-studies-1/

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