LACUSL Speaker Series: Vicky Unruh

Vicky Unruh, Spanish and Portuguese, University of Kansas
“Beyond Immortality: The Cemetery in Contemporary Cuban Film and Fiction”

Wednesday, February 4, 2015, 3:30pm
American Geographical Society Library (UWM Libraries, Third floor)

The Necrópolis Cristobal Colón in Havana, one of the largest in the Western Hemisphere, is a popular tourist stop for visitors to Cuba. The site of Fidel Castro’s first memorable public appearance in 1951, the Colón entrance also witnessed his first use of the word “socialism” in 1961 to describe the Cuban Revolution. Decades of oratory have reinforced the association with state authority. This talk explores how Post-Soviet Cuban fiction and film represent the cemetery as a “practiced place,” in Michel de Certeau’s terms, for recasting residual, if threadbare revolutionary ideals. The talk examines the cemetery as an imagined ground zero of confrontation with a superannuated revolutionary state and the rich terrain it offers for disassembling the all-encompassing national community that modern cemeteries ostensibly embody and for generating smaller-scale, if tentative, models for community and affiliation.

Co-sponsored by the Center for International Education, the Center for Latin American & Caribbean Studies, and the Film Studies Program.