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Maymester 2019: Exhibiting Art, Literature and Culture in Cuba

Posted by on Monday, November 26, 2018 in HART, News, Student/Alumni, Vanderbilt University, VRC.

maymestercubaVivien Fryd, professor of history of art, and William Luis, professor of Spanish and director of Latino and Latina Studies, are offering a Maymester course entitled “Exhibiting Art, Literature and Culture in Cuba” (HART 3810/LATS 4961/5961) that will be held May 6 through May 31. This three credit hour course intersects with the 13th Havana Biennial in Matanzas, Cuba, whose artistic director is Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons, Cornelius Vanderbilt Chair of Fine Arts and professor of art. The Havana Biennial (April 12 to May 19) will focus on artists from Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, Asia and the Middle East to underscore the international aspect of contemporary art. The class will study the work of international artists, including American artists, selected by Campos-Pons to be shown in her hometown of Matanzas as well as Cienfuegos and Havana.

Students will also study the history, religion, literature, and culture of Cuba, keeping in mind the traditions of art presses in Cuba that will result in the Symposium of Alternative Presses to be held concurrently with the Biennial. The class will focus on writers of the Cuban Revolution (primarily prose and poetry) and consider some of the Afro-Cuban religious manifestations typical of Cuban culture. In their travels to Havana, Matanzas, and Cienfuegos, students will tour these cities and their artistic projects and meet with artists, writers, religious practitioners, and other cultural promoters.

Course requirements include active participation and respectful engagement with the course both in class and on location. Students will keep a diary, interview one artist or writer, write one book review, and select a work of art at any of the venues and present a brief lecture to the class about that work.

The program is open to all Vanderbilt undergraduate and graduate students in good academic standing and with the consent of the instructors. Applications are due by January 31, 2019. For a complete itinerary and further information, email or

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