499/599 Cuban Culture, Society and Politics Today: From Revolution to Globalization
Prerequisite: Soc 499/599 Cuban Society, Culture and Politics through Film completed.
Credits: 6 Credits
Course Directors: Professor Dwaine Plaza & Professor Amy Below
Office: 302 Fairbanks Hall Office Phone: 737-5369
Office: 314 Gilkey Hall Office Phone 737-6280
Office Hours: Skype appointments can also be made.
Course Web Page Address: Blackboard
Course Offered: June 18- 28, 2013 in Havana Cuba.
In this course, students will review several of the components crucial to Cuba’s formation, including its historical and cultural formation, its politics, its art, its religion, its contemporary concerns, and its place in the globalized post cold war era. The highlight of this valuable learning experience is living in Cuba for ten days and being able to listen and talk to Cubans about their social, political and economic life today. In Havana students will be exposed to an active daily program of study, which will include lectures by Cuban scholars, visits to art galleries, museums, and other sites of historical and cultural interest. Some of these locations include: Havana: Museo de la Revolucion (Museum of the Revolution) and Granma Monument; Center for the Study of Che Guevara; Ministry of the Interior Museum; Federation of Cuban Women; University of Havana; La Cabaña Fortress; Havana Vieja; José Martí birthplace museum; Plaza de la Revolución; National Arts Museum.
** This class requires LONG hours of listening, group processing, travelling and walking in the heat of Cuba. Please note that we will often start class in the morning (8:00 am) and may not be done until 10:00 p.m. Thirteen-hour days are not uncommon in this intense short course. You therefore need to bring a positive up-beat attitude to this unique once in a lifetime learning experience. Turbulence is also very much part of the group dynamic process and when orchestrating a course of this nature. Please be mentally prepared for this.
Course Reading Materials
Course Reading Kit: A course reading kit will be available for purchase from the teaching team.
One Spiral bound note book is needed as a writing journal in Cuba
Undergraduate Student Learning Outcomes
After completing this course undergraduate students will have achieved the following:
(a) Be able to describe the historical development of Cuba from slavery to the present.
(b) Be able to understand the concept of ethnocentrism and cultural relativism.
(c) Be able to evaluate the effects of globalization and hegemony on Cuba’s culture, society, economy or politics.
(d) Be able to compare Cuba’s healthcare system, education system, religions, popular culture and music with what exists in the United States.
(e) Be able to describe the Cuban revolution and understand what effects it had on the lives of women and people of color.
Graduate Student Learning Outcomes
After completing this course graduate students will have achieved the following:
(a) Be able to explain, compare and distinguish the historical development of Cuba from slavery to the present.
(b) Be able to understand and evaluate the concept of ethnocentrism and cultural relativism.
(c) Be able to evaluate the way the effects of globalization and hegemony on Cuba’s culture, society, economy or politics.
(d) Be able to explain and compare the Cuba’s healthcare system, education system, religions, popular culture and music with what exists in the United States.
(e) Be able to understand the Cuban revolution and the effects it had on the lives of women and people of color.
Summary of the Final Grade Calculation
Intellectual Engagement/Participation 25 percent
Personal Journal/ Photo Journal 20 percent
Research paper 25 percent
YouTube Cuba Production 20 percent
Final Oral Presentation 5 percent
Reading Presentation 5 percent
All graded material for the class is due on July 15th 2013 at 5:00 pm. You can submit all of your work via email to the course directors.
*Graduate students enrolled in the course are required to make their personal journal, YouTube video, research paper and participation in the course more extensive than undergraduate students. The course faculty will meet with the graduate-level students separately to discuss additional requirement for the class.
Students with Disabilities:
Accommodations are collaborative efforts between students, faculty and Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD). Students with accommodations approved through SSD are responsible for contacting the faculty member in charge of the course prior to or during the first week of the term to discuss accommodations. Students who believe they are eligible for accommodations but who have not yet obtained approval through SSD should contact SSD immediately at 737-4098.
Behavior, Decorum and Participation:
This study abroad trip will also require considerable flexibility, maturity and cultural sensitivity. The concepts, culture and the political system we will be exploring in this class will very likely be unfamiliar. As a result, the class may sometimes provoke strong responses or confusion. We will work to learn to reason through these uncomfortable, but productive, moments.
We will work to acquire a kind of cultural literacy that helps us move beyond ethnocentrism. We will, instead, try to learn to think in terms of cultural relativity -- that is, the ability to view, evaluate, and analyze a culture by its own standards and historical context. More importantly, we will practice listening carefully -- with an eye toward understanding one another.
Students are absolutely required to participate in all lectures, tours, events and activities planned by the professors and the cultural liaison person in Cuba – and to do so in a timely and responsible manner. Students are expected to participate in discussions, asking questions freely but respectfully – keeping in mind not to offend our hosts. You are free to disagree, but not to be disagreeable.
Students are expected to comply with our host’s requests and with the requests of any guest lecturers or guides. We encourage students to get to know their own hosts, interacting with Havana’s citizens in a friendly and open way.
All assignments must be submitted in TYPED form.
During the course there may be some unforeseen circumstances which arise that alter the schedule below. In this case it will be YOUR responsibility to be in class to find out what those adjustments might be.
If you are experiencing problems with this course, its content, the readings, our teaching style, we strongly encourage you to raise your concerns at the earliest possible moment.
The course begins by introducing action research, active listening and relationships of power, privilege and dominance as different modes of inquiry for doing research and understanding the changes which are taking place for Cubans in the 21st Century. The subject matter then becomes more practical in the sense that the group arrives in Havana and spends ten days going throughout the city and surrounding areas in order to listen to the perspectives of different stakeholders including: school officials, human health and service providers, musicians, artists, historians, farmers, economists, and political scientists. We will also explore various cultural locations like: the Museum of the Revolution; Granma Monument; Center for the Study of Che Guevara; Ministry of the Interior Museum; Federation of Cuban Women; University of Havana; La Cabaña Fortress; Havana Vieja; José Martí birthplace museum; Plaza de la Revolución; and National Arts Museum. Throughout the ten days students will also be reflecting on course readings, lectures, formal and informal personal experiences, writing journal entries, formulating questions for the stakeholders, processing interviews and immersing themselves in Cuban culture, society and politics. By doing all of these activities students at the end of ten days will have a better understanding of Cuba and its place in the global economy in the 21st century.
Listed below are the daily topics and events that will be covered in the course. This schedule is subject to change due to unforeseen circumstances. The reflection times are also flexible and can happen at the Martin Luther King center in Havana or out in the field. Reading presenters are expected to be able to lead their reading at anytime during the day. The rest of the group is expected to keep up with readings assigned each day. Please check with the course directors for deviations that may be inevitable.
Tuesday, 18 June
12:00pm Arrival in Havana at terminal 2
01:30pm Lunch at CMLK
03:00 pm Introducing Guide, Interpreter and CEG leader; schedule review
03:30 pm Welcome to CMLK and briefing presentation by Ailed Villalva from the Socio Theological Program
04:30 pm Walking in small groups around Marianao and Pogolotti neighbourhoods
04:30 pm Debriefing information gather from the walking exercise
07:00 pm Dinner at CMLK
07:30 pm City Tour of Old Havana; visit the four main Plazas in Old Havana
Wednesday, 19 June Havana History (Colonial and Revolutionary)
09:00 am Breakfast
010:00 am Conference on Cuba in the Caribbean Region Context by Dr. Samuel Furé Davis; Professor at the English and foreign Languages Department at the University of Havana. Telephone: (537) 879-6132 and 870-4671 firstname.lastname@example.org
11:45 am Visit to Revolution Museum and Granma Memorial
01:00 pm Lunch in the area
02:30 pm Visit to the Morro Cabaña Museum and the Che Guevara Headquarter Office
04:30 pm Group session at the fortress
07:00 pm Dinner at a Restaurant of the Cabana Fortress
08:50 pm Canon-ball shooting Ceremony
Thursday, 20 June Havana History (Revolutionary and Post-revolutionary) and Education.
08:00 am Breakfast
08:30 am Group session
9.00 am Visit to Policlinico Health Clinic in Managua, with Dr. Luis Soza
11:00 am Participation in the Psico-Ballet Project; time to interact with Cuban elderly and to learnabout the impact that the Cuban Revolution has had on their own lives, with Elizabeth Gomez
12:30 pm Lunch at CMLK
02:30 pm Formal Tour on University of Havana with Nestor Mesa
03:30 pm Informal Tour/Exploration of the university of Havana with Dr Samuel Furé
06:30 pm Exchange with Cuban University Students (Lisandra Perez and Gendry Delfino) about their lives/ dreams /challenges and their views about the Cuban Revolution; mainly the Educational System
07:30 pm Dinner with the students at La Onda de David Paladar
08:00 pm Free evening
Friday, 21 June Havana History (Post-revolutionary) + Education
08:00 am Breakfast
08:30 am Presentation by Rev. Raúl Suárez, including anecdotes of his experiences at the Natonal Assembly and his refections on the theme “From Revolution to Globalization”; Director of Telephone:
10:00 am Visit to the Elementary School Hermano Montalvo in Pogolotti, with Principal Luis Garcia
12:30 pm Lunch at CMMLK
02:00 pm Talk on CUBA-US Relations by Alfredo Prieto
03:30 pm Group session and preparation for Matanzas and Varadero
06:30 pm Dinner at CMMLK
09:00 pm Nightclub El Submarino Amarillo
Saturday, 22 June Havana–Matanzas-Varadero History; Religion y “Spiritual Culture”; Race and Stratification.
07:30 am Breakfast at CMMLK
08:00 am Departure for Matanzas
09:00 am Stop at the Cunamayagua view point
10:00 am Visit to San Carlos Borromeo Cathedral, with Sergio Diaz
12:30 pm Lunch at the Kairós Center and presentation on their mission and history, with Wanda Hernandez and Samuel Rodriguez
02:30 pm Guided Tour of the San Severino Fortress and its museum (which is part of the UNESCO Slave Trail program), focusing particularly on African religious and Orisha traditions
04:00 pm Walking La Marina neoghbourhood with Regla Gym; a community leader. Meeting with participants at the community venue in order to learn about how they keep African culture alive (languages, religious traditions, etc)
05:00 pm Departure for Varadero
06.00 pm Accommodaton and dinner at the Varadero Presbiterian Curch
08.00 pm Free evening
Sunday, 23 June Varadero-Havana Religion and “Spiritual Culture”; Tourism as a development model.
08:00 am Breakfast at the Presbiterian church
08:30 am Free time
12:30 pm Lunch at the Presbiterian Church
02:00 pm Talk and informative tour of Varadero- tourism and development in the area- by Samuel Moreno and Joaquin Soreano
06:00 pm Departure for Havana
08:00 pm Dinner at CMMLK
08:30 pm Group session
Monday, 24 June Havana Economy and Health
08:00 am Breakfast at CMMLK
09:00 am Free time to informally explore Centro Habana, Old Havana and sourranding areas
Optional visit to the Rum Museum
12:30 pm Lunch at the CMMLK
02:00 pm Visit to the ELAM Latin American School of Medicine (ELAM), with Dra. Dalai Perez and Victor Ferran
06:30 pm Dinner at CMMLK
08:30 pm Cultural Project Afro-Cuban drumming performance
Martes, 25 Junio Havana, Agriculture and Economy; Women
08:30 am Breakfast at CMMLK
09:00 am Visit to the Organic Garden Cooperative in Alamar: tour and explanation of its history and organization, with Leonel Peña
12:00 pm Lunch at the organic garden
01:00 pm Group session
03:00 pm Visit to the Community Transformation Project in Pogolotti, hear Cuban women talk about the problems and their participation in the Federation of Cuban Women, with Mercedes Soza and Noemi Reyes
4:00 Group session and preparation for students’ final presentation
06:30 pm Dinner at CMMLK.
Wednesday, June 26 Havana Popular Culture, Arts, and Music; Economy
08:00 am Breakfast
08:30 am Visit to a Children Orphanage
09:30 am Visit to Revolution Square
11:00 am Tour at Cayo Hueso in Centro Habana in oredr to learn about santería and Afroreligios traditions in Cuba, with Elias Aseff
12:30 pm Visit Callejon de Hamel and China Towm
12:30 pm Lunch in the area
02:00 pm Visit of Casa de Africa
04:00 pm Talk by Prof. Gladys Hernández about the Cuban Economy, reecent reforms, touristic sector, impact of US Embargo, relations with Venezuela and other countries
06:30 pm Dinner at CMMLK
08:00 pm Free evening
Thursday, 27 June Havana The Future in Cuba
08:00 am Lunch CMLK
09:00 am Panel discussion on the future of Cuba and dialogue with Dr. Ileana Sanz, Dr. Samuel Furé Davis and Dr. Ariel Dacal
11:00 Written evaluations for CMLK and CGE
12:00 pm Lunch at CMLK
02:00 pm Students’ final prepartion for evening presentations
07:00 pm Farewel Dinner at the “Monte Barreto” Paladar
09:00 pm Presentations by the students
Friday, 28 June Havana-Miami
07:30 am Check-in Havana
10:00 am Departure on Sky King SG#1302
11:00 am Arrival in Miami
Reading Presentations will be assigned in Havana. Each student will lead one reading for the group during the time we are in Cuba.
Day 1 June 19
What would Che say
Photographs of Early Twentieth Century Cuba
Day 2 June 20
The White Man’s Ladies
Day 3 June 21
Slave Mothers and White Fathers Family in Cuba: Defining Family and Status in Late Colonial Cuba
Day 4 June 22
Afro Cuban Religion: Ethno-botany and Health Care in the Context of Global Political and Economic Change
On the Brink of Tourism
Day 5 June 23
Che Chevy’s Hemingways Cuban Tourism in a Time of Globalization
Cuba’s Tourism Boom: Curse or Blessing/ Cuba’s Tourism Boom: Curse or Blessing (SHARED)
Day 6 June 24
Primary Care in Cuba: Social Commentary
Cuban Medical Internationalism: Domestic and International Impacts
The Cuban Revolutionary Doctor: The Ultimate Weapon of Solidarity
Day 7 June 25
The Urban Agriculture of Havana
The Paradox of Urban Agriculture
Day 8 June 26
View Point: Bringing Social Justice Back in: Cuba Revitalizes Sustainable Development
Day 9 June 27
Preparation for the final presentations
One of your central learning activities during this course will be keeping a personal reflection journal while we are in Cuba. You should think of this writing as partly a reflection on what we are experiencing in Cuba. The journal entries might also be observations of the stakeholders’ perspectives/positions that make you wonder. The journal can be made up of observations on the way Cuban issues are presented to you by guest speakers, observations you are making during the day or at night, or linking what we are seeing with the readings covered in the reading kit.
The final journal should include a summary of each reading in the summer reading kit.
The journal is a place to become fully involved in all the issues the course raises. Finally, use the journal to draw connections between this course and the other life experiences you have had. The journal when its finally submitted to the instructor should be typed out. You can also include photographs taken to supplement your journal.
Grading of Reflection Journals
The reflection journal will be evaluated according to four criteria: commitment, ambition, making links to the readings, and engagement with the experiences in Cuba. Note: we expect that you will have at least 10 pages of commentary in your journal by the time you submit it for grading.
Apart from the reflection journal we want you to work in PAIRS to complete a research paper on a topic relevant to Cuba and globalization issues. The paper can include topics as varied as: Cuban culture, society, economy or politics in an era of globalization. To accomplish this we would like you to use the information gathered throughout the ten days in interviews, observations, information obtained from web searches, and information found in conventional academic sources (journal articles and books in the library). From all of these sources you need to select one theme that caught your interest (e.g. youth, migration, music, art, race, gender, health care, schooling, agriculture, tourism, environmental issues, sustainability issues, politics, economy, etc.). Using all the sources you can find examine and reflect on the theme you have selected. What change strategies has the Cuban government, its people or outside entities tried to implement in order to deal with the theme you have selected? Write an 8-10 page research paper.
Working in pairs this project will involve the making of a YouTube video on the theme of Cuban social, economic, political or cultural development topic in the 21st century. Working with a partner, decide on a central question or issue you would like to display using YouTube media. We expect that each YouTube clip will be between 3-5 minutes in length and have an audio portion and text. Your goal is to demonstrate what you learned in this class during the past ten days. We encourage you to use the photographs you have taken as well as any material available on the Internet to construct the YouTube video which is aimed at educating those who never get a chance to visit Cuba. Some topics which could be made include: youth, migration, music, art, race, gender, health care, schooling, the revolution, agriculture, tourism, environmental issues, sustainability issues, politics, or the economy. How can the images you use tell a story about modern Cuba and the global economy? Some technical help will be provided in how to make a YouTube video. Most of the creativity and hard work however will come from your team.
See the following website for examples of YouTube projects from last year:
Final Oral Presentations
Throughout the duration of this course emphasis is being placed on listening, observing and thinking critically about Cuba’s development from a social, cultural, political and economic perspective in the new millennium. It is in this spirit that you are asked to critically explore and present back to an audience in Cuba what you have learned on a particular topic for 5-7 minutes (working in pairs). All presenters will be limited in terms of visual resources. Presenters will be able to use PowerPoint and whatever photographs they have taken during their time in Cuba. The final presentation will coincide with a final departure dinner in Havana where we will host many of the stakeholders who interacted with the class during our visit.
You will be asked to provide the teaching team with a self evaluation of your participation and learning in the course. The teaching team will consider your self-evaluation when calculating a final grade for your intellectual engagement and participation throughout the course (keep in mind, however, that we may not arrive at the same conclusion!). The self-evaluation will be in the form of a letter to the teaching team. The letter does not have to be formal, but you need to include comments on your performance from the following areas. How did you do as: an active listener, participant in group debriefing sessions, and as an overall collegial and sensitive member of the learning team? Did you experience intellectual growth which you feel might be attributed to your experience with this course? Overall, considering all of these factors, what letter grade would you assign for yourself using the scale of (A, B, C, D, or F)?