Halfway between the United States and Latin America, Cuba has historically charted its own course. With the recent thawing of relations between Washington and Havana—travel restrictions lifted, a new embassy opening—Bryn Mawr’s timing couldn’t have been better for a 360° course cluster focused on Cuba today.
During spring break, the 10 students who enrolled in “Contemporary Cuban Culture and Society in a Global Context” joined Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research Professor Raymond Albert, Cities Professor Gary McDonogh, and Spanish Professor Enrique Sacerio-Gari on a trip to the island nation.
While in country, students heard from local architects, economists, filmmakers, and artists; took architectural tours that included 1950s casinos, post-Revolution housing, and a Chinatown that dates back to the 19th century; and even met with President Raul Castro’s daughter, LGBT activist Mariela Castro, who is the director of the Cuban National Center for Sex Education. To conduct research for their final projects, students ventured off on their own—whether to one of Havana’s cemeteries to compare the funerary practices of Catholics, Jewish-Cubans, Chinese immigrants, or to attend an evening of dialogue with scholars from the Casa de las Americas.
But it wasn’t all lectures and research. Students savored every aspect of Cuban culture, from the food to the music to riding along in signature vintage cars.
Get a glimpse of their journey in this photo album by College Photographer Kate McCann.