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Contemporary Cuban Culture and Society: Arts and Activism in Cuba

HNRS 2020 Sec. 04 - Spring 2019

Instructor Eric Mayer-García Departments of English and Women's & Gender Studies

W 4:30 PM - 6:00 PM
220 French House

NOTE: Enrollment in this course requires participation in the LSU/Honors in Cuba spring break excursion.

As part of the LSU/Honors in Cuba program, this course will provide students with an introduction to contemporary Cuban culture and society by focusing on the role of the arts in activism. Unprecedented in the Americas, the Cuban Revolution transformed civil society through radical politics and socialism. This course emphasizes how the arts and culture are deeply involved in these social processes. Cultural production was a tool for creating this transformation, as well as a resource for its renegotiation from the grass roots. The study of Cuba’s cultural history provides students with concrete and resonant examples of processes of social change that will challenge them to rethink fixed notions of civil society and activism, while they come to appreciate the role of the arts in the continuous renegotiation of social norms and values.

Students learn about Cuba’s history and contemporary society through essays, plays, poetry, films, site visits, and an academic exchange with students at the University of Havana. After studying the role of theatre, music, drag, religion, and sports in political history and current activism in Cuba, the class will visit Havana and Pinar del Rio during spring break to gain first hand experiences with the ways activism and civil society depend on and employ the arts and cultural expression. The spring break excursion will provide experiences that deepen students’ understanding of the history, literature, and artistic expressions studied in the course.

Fulfills General Education:

English Composition
Humanities
Social Sciences