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Speaker: Petra Kuivala, PhD, Associate at the Department of History at Harvard University and Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Helsinki
Discussant: Jorge Duany, Director of the Cuban Research Institute and Professor of Anthropology at Florida International University in Miami
Moderated by: Alejandro de la Fuente, Robert Woods Bliss Professor of Latin American History and Economics; Professor of African and African American Studies, Director, Afro-Latin American Research Institute, Chair, Cuba Studies Program
The paper reconstructs a historical narrative that centers Cuban Catholics as social subjects inhabiting the revolutionary and, later, socialist society in post-1959 Cuba. Drawing on an extensive amount of previously unstudied Cuban archival sources, the paper explores the ways in which religious Cubans navigated their social identities and roles in the officially atheist and antireligious environment. The paper shows that religious agencies and practices shifted from institutional to more informal and vernacular. This contributed to the transformation of religious identities and expressions, but not in religious disappearance altogether.
Petra Kuivala, PhD, is an Associate at the Department of History at Harvard University and a Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Helsinki. Dr. Kuivala has worked also as a Fulbright Visiting Scholar at the Cuban Research Institute at Florida International University. Her research and teaching intersect with the study of religion, history, Cuban studies, and Latin American studies, with a particular focus on religion in Cuba, the Cuban Revolution, and socialist society. Her current research project analyzes the intersections of religion and lived experience in the social histories of the Cuban Revolution. Most recently, Dr. Kuivala has written about religious material culture and lived religion in Cuba as well as religious moral authority confronting totalitarian state power in Latin America.
Dr. Jorge Duany is Director of the Cuban Research Institute and Professor of Anthropology at Florida International University in Miami. He has written extensively about Cuban and Caribbean migration, ethnicity, race, nationalism, and transnationalism. He has published twenty-two books, including “Two Wings of a Bird”: Transdisciplinary Approaches to Puerto Rican and Cuban-American History, Literature, and Culture (forthcoming) and Picturing Cuba: Art, Culture, and Identity on the Island and in the Diaspora (2019).