CONTACT: LOIS GRAY
Iowa City IA 52242
Release: Sept. 27, 2001
UI, Grinnell host symposium on Cuban arts, culture and politics Oct. 4-6
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- A symposium on "Culture, Politics and Change in
Contemporary Cuba" will bring the Cuban experience to Iowa City and Grinnell
Oct. 4-6. A group of Cuban intellectuals, Cuban-American scholars, recent
Cuban exiles and other Cuba experts, as well as the UI-Grinnell Bridging Project
group, will gather for three days of presentations, panels and frank discussions.
"Cuba-US relations have been troubled for more than 40 years, with
a lack of real dialogue between the parties," says Daniel Balderston,
chair of the UI department of Spanish and Portuguese and primary symposium
organizer. "This symposium provides an opportunity for lively dialogue
on a variety of issues related to arts, culture and politics in Cuba today."
Balderston says the symposium will bring together an unusually diverse group
of Cuban and Cuban-American intellectuals. He adds that this will offer a
unique opportunity for the UI community to learn more in-depth about many
facets of Cuba. All activities are free and open to the public.
Anton Arrufat will deliver the keynote address Thursday, Oct. 4, at noon
in the International Center Lounge. Arrufat is a Cuban writer and winner of
the National Prize for Literature 2000. His famous play, "Los siete contra
Tebas (Seven Against Thebes)," an adaptation of the Aeschylus tragedy
to the Cuban situation, won a major literary award in Cuba in 1968 but has
never been performed there because of its controversial nature.
The symposium includes presentations and discussions all day Thursday, Oct.
4 and Friday, Oct. 5 at the International Center Lounge. Special evening activities
include a performance of "Milk of Amnesia" by Cuban-American performance
artist Alina Toyano, Oct. 4 at 7:30 p.m. at the Riverside Theater, and a concert
by the Cuban musician Frank Delgado Friday, Oct. 5 at 8 p.m. in the Wheel
Room of the Iowa Memorial Union. On Saturday, Oct. 6, there will be a full
day of activities at Grinnell College.
Troyano, known for her celebrated character Carmelita Tropicana, is famous
in New York performance art circles (and nationally) for her sparkling wit,
her bilingual and bicultural crossings, and her campy performance style. She
has won Obie awards and has performed widely. Many of her writings and scripts
are reproduced in her recent book.
Delgado is a celebrated musician and is well known in Cuba for his corrosively
ironic lyrics. An heir to the Cuban nueva trova (new song) movement
and to the ironic tradition of Pedro Luis Ferrer, he performs more frequently
outside Cuba, mostly recently in Mexico, Chile and Spain than inside, though
a concert of his at Casa de las Americas in Havana was packed in June.
Some of the other speakers include Ruth Behar, a professor of anthropology
at the University of Michigan and author of "Translated Woman."
Behar is also a Macarthur Award winner. Other speakers include Roman de la
Campa, a professor of Spanish and Comparative Literature at Stony Brook, and
author of important books such as "Cuba on My Mind and Latin Americanism";
Jose Quiroga, associate professor of Spanish at the George Washington University
and author of "Tropics of Desire"; and Damian Fernandez, professor
of international relations at Florida International University and author
of Cuba and Politics of Passion.
At UI and Grinnell there will be readings by prominent Cuban poets and fiction
writers. Most of the presentations will be in Spanish.
Balderston said the conference evolved from The Bridging Project, which
took three UI faculty, two UI graduate students, three Grinnell faculty and
two Grinnell undergraduates to Havana in June, after a semester of readings
and discussion. The result was a series of conversations with a variety of
Cuban intellectuals, some very prominent, others younger and just emerging,
and provided a very fruitful dialogue.
At the University of Iowa, the symposium is sponsored by Latin American
Studies Program, the department of Spanish and Portuguese, the International
Writing Program (IWP), the Stanley-UI Foundation Support Organization, International
Programs, and the UI Campus Activities Board. At Grinnell College, sponsors
include the Program in Latin American Studies, the Rosenfield Speakers Fund
, Academic Speakers Fund, Grinnell College, and Student Organization of Latino/Latinas
(SOL). Additional funding of spring and summer 2001 activities were provided
through the Grinnell College and University of Iowa Bridging Project for International
and Interdisciplinary Studies.
All UI activities except the evening performance will be held in the International
Center Lounge. Many events are in Spanish only.
For a complete schedule of events, more information or for those who require
special accommodations in order to participate, call Renee Wieler at (319)
335-0368 or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.