November 14, 2003 - 4:30 PM
The period of the mid to late nineties has seen a revitalization of the arts in Cuba, including the production of several internationally recognized and highly critical Cuban films such as Fresa y Chocolate (Strawberry and Chocolate, 1994), Madagascar (1994), and La Vida es Silbar (Life is to Whistle, 1998). Film plays an important role in the contemporary period of crisis, redefinition, and change in Cuban society. Filmmakers tap into everyday frustrations and newly emerging sentiments during a moment of economic and political crisis, but they find narrative means of reincorporating these alternative ideas into official discourses. Moreover, the study of reception illustrates the surprising ways in which viewers themselves seek to reintegrate critical perspectives on issues such as race, sexuality, and immigration into dominant frameworks. Drawing on ethnographic field work carried out during nine months in Cuba, this presentation seeks to understand the ways in which cultural public spheres are shaped by new modes of power and it demonstrates the changing relationships between state and society spurred on by the vastly changed political landscape of the post-Cold War period.
Sujatha Fernandes earned her Ph.D. at the University of Chicago and is currently a Wilson-Cotsen Fellow in the Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts, Public Policy, and Politics at Princeton University. She has published articles on Cuban hip-hop in Anthropological Quarterly and the Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies. She is currently working on a book manuscript entitled The Politics of Culture: Art, Public Spheres, and State Power in Contemporary Cuba.