IAP 2001 Activity

Cuban Legacies: Slavery, Inequality, and Communism in the Colonial and National Experience
Jeffrey Ravel
No enrollment limit, no advance sign up
Participants welcome at individual sessions (series)
Prereq: None

In January 1959, Fidel Castro and his followers came to power in Cuba, overthrowing the government of Fulgencio Batista.  Since then, controversy has raged about the merits of the Cuban Revolution.  Has it raised levels of literacy and medical care beyond those found in countries of comaparable size and wealth?  Have social improvements been achieved at the expense of political liberty?  The Elian Gonzalez affair and US congressional debates over Cuba's trade status suggest that Cuba, its revolution, and its leader still occupy a place in American and world imagination out of all proportion to the country's size and geopolitical situation.  These issues and others have important antecedents in Cuba's colonial legacies of slavery and racial discord.  The films in this IAP series will provide historical perspectives on the Cuban colonial and national experience.
Contact: Jeffrey Ravel, E51-179, 253-4451,
Sponsor: History

"The Last Supper"
Jeffrey Ravel
For most of the period of Spanish colonial domination in the Americas, Cuba was a largely forested, mostly unmapped territory sparsely inhabited by an indigenous population that had suffered serious demographic setbacks at the beginning of European contact.  With the end of sugar production in Haiti ca. 1800, however, Europeans developed a new interest in exploiting the island.  The first film in the series, THE LAST SUPPER, is based on an incident from late eighteenth-century Cuban history involving a pious slaveholder who decides to instruct his slaves in Christian humility by inviting them to participate in a reenactment of the Last Supper.
Tue Jan 9, 07-10:00pm, Room 56-169

"Portrait of Teresa"
Jeffrey Ravel
The second film in the series, PORTRAIT OF TERESA, is set in 1979, almost two centuries later, after the Revolution of 1979 had acheived political stability.  It is a realistic account of a woman in Revolutionary Cuba struggling with the demands of family and job in a textile factory.  The film shows the disintegration of her marriage with compassion and authenticity, and focusses on the survival of machismo and sexism in post-revolutionary society.
Tue Jan 16, 07-10:00pm, Room 56-169

"The New Cuban Crisis"
Jeffrey Ravel
We'll view two short films documenting the status of socialism in Cuba in the late 1990s.  THE NEW CUBAN CRISIS explores the attitudes of Cubans (inside the country and in exile) and Americans towards the US embargo on Cuba.  INSIDE CASTRO'S CUBA, the result of one filmmaker's year-long sojourn in Cuba, relies on interviews with many Cubans (including Castro), to document the tenacity of Castro's Revolution forty years on.
Tue Jan 23, 07-10:00pm, Room 56-169
Latest update: 24-Oct-2000

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Listing generated: 31-Jan-2001