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Outside Cuba: Diasporic Literature and Culture

A diaspora of two million people, Cuban-Americans have had a significant impact on U.S. culture and politics. As we witness the rapid increase in relations between the U.S. and Cuba, this course will examine the literary and cultural production of Cubans living in the U.S. Through novels, plays, memoirs and historical texts written mostly in English, we’ll explore the themes of language and identity, the politics of exile, the construction of sexual and national identities, music as a cultural bridge, and much more. Class will be conducted in Spanish, and exams and papers will be completed in Spanish as well.

Course requirements: Midterm (40%), Final (40%), 2 short papers (20%)

Required readings:

For background:

  1. Alvarez Borland, Isabel, Cuban-American Literature of Exile: From Person to Persona (Selections in Sakai).
  2. García, María Cristina. Havana USA. Cuban Exiles and Cuban Americans in South Florida, 1959-1994
  3. Luis, William. “Master Codes of Cuban American Culture, part II” (Sakai)

Texts (in alphabetical order):

Cruz, Nilo.  Hortensia and the Museum of Dreams (play)

Eire, Carlos. Waiting for Snow in Havana: Confessions of a Cuban Boy

Fraxedas, J. Joaquín.  The Lonely Crossing of Juan Cabrera

García, Cristina.  Dreaming in Cuban

López, Melinda. Sonia Flew  (play)

Obejas, Achy.  Ruins

Ojito, Mirta.  Finding Mañana: A Memoir of a Cuban Exodus

Veciana-Suárez, Ana, The Chin Kiss King

Requisites: Prerequisite, SPAN 373 or permission of instructor for those who have advanced Spanish skills. Students lacking the prerequisite are encouraged to email the instructor at to request permission to enroll.