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International speakers set to reveal ‘hidden’ history of Cuba

Cuba Conference

4 March 2015

The social changes and ‘hidden’ popular experiences of the Cuban people are set to be explored in an oral history research conference at Aston University (UK).

In the Cuban context, interviews with ‘ordinary’ families and individuals have been vital in documenting social history, but collating this evidence has proved a challenging experience for researchers.

This one day international workshop, organised by Aston Centre for Europe and the Languages and Translation Studies subject group, is set to break new academic ground. The first UK conference of its kind in over a decade, it will feature speakers from Cuba, USA (Miami), France and the UK, who have either conducted oral history research within Cuba or with Cubans living outside Cuba.

Discussions will include memories of the Cuban revolution; the future for key Cuban industries such as its sugar plantations; experiences of Cuban health workers and doctors on international humanitarian missions; and stories from Cubans now living in exile.

Organiser, Dr Stéphanie Panichelli-Batalla of Aston University in Birmingham (UK), who will be speaking at the ‘Oral History and Cuba: A Changing Society’ workshop, said:  “In the Cuban context, oral history is a vital tool in understanding popular experience, and producing narratives of social change from below. Yet in this context, oral history has sometimes been a challenging experience for researchers, due to the ideological orientation of the Cuban Revolutionary government and the weight of 'official history', serving to narrow access for researchers, and the scope of the ‘sayable’ for citizens. By bringing together academics from across the world, each with a different focus, we will provide some important and varied insights into Cuba’s history.”

Speakers include Maria Estorino Dooling (Cuban Heritage Collection, University of Miami), Ana Vera Estrada (Instituto Cubano de Investigación Cultural Juan Marinello, Havana), Paul Thompson (author of the book: The Voices of the Past. Oral History), Antoni Kapcia (University of Nottingham – Centre for Research on Cuba) and Aston’s Dr Stéphanie Panichelli-Batalla, convener of the workshop.

The workshop on Thursday, 23 April (2015) from 9.30am to 5.15pm is free for Aston staff and students, £15 for other students and £25 for academics and general public. Register for the workshop here or email Dr Stéphanie Panichelli-Batalla for more information.


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For further media information contact Alex Earnshaw, Aston University Communications on 0121 204 4549 or a.earnshaw@aston.ac.uk