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Author: María Isabel Alfonso, Professor of Spanish and Chair of the Department of Modern Languages at St. Joseph’s College
Discussant: César A. Salgado, Associate Professor in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese and Graduate Adviser in the Program in Comparative Literature at the University of Texas at Austin
Moderated by: Doris Sommer, Ira Jewell Williams Professor of Romance Languages and Literatures; Director, Cultural Agents Initiative
María Isabel Alfonso (PhD, University of Miami) is a Professor of Spanish and Chair of the Department of Modern Languages at St. Joseph’s College. She is the author of Ediciones El Puente y los vacíos del canon lliterario cubano, which was published by the University of Veracruz Press in 2016. Her article “Radical Poetics of the Sixties in Cuba: The Case of Ediciones El Puente and Its Revolutionary Existentialism” appeared in a dossier published by Public devoted to the topic of Havana’s cosmopolitanism in the 1960s (Canada, 2016), and her work “Ediciones El Puente y los vacíos del canon literario cubano. Dinámicas culturales de los sesenta y el legado Origenista” is a contribution to La futuridad del naufragio: Orígenes, estelas y derivas, edited by Juan Pablo Lupi and César A. Salgado (Almenara Press, 2019). Alfonso produced and directed the documentary film Rethinking Cuban Civil Society (Icarus Film, 2019), which explores the ways in which in the present times Cuban artists and intellectuals use their aesthetic creations and works as tools of democratization and pluralism. Her current work examines the overlooked connections between past and present Cuban cultural and literary policies.
César A. Salgado is Associate Professor in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese and Graduate Adviser in the Program in Comparative Literature at the University of Texas at Austin. He is the author of From Modernism to Neobaroque: Joyce and Lezama Lima (Bucknell UP 2001), and co-editor of TransLatin Joyce: Global Transmissions in Ibero-American Literature (Palgrave 2014) and La futuridad del naufragio: Orígenes, estelas y derivas (Almenara 2019). He co-edited two reference volumes for Gale Cengage, Latino and Latino Writers (2004) and Cuba (2011). His current book project is about archival survival and custodial sustainability in crisis-prone Puerto Rico.
Doris Sommer, Director of the Cultural Agents Initiative at Harvard University, is Ira and Jewell Williams Professor of Romance Languages and Literatures and of African and African American Studies. Her academic and outreach work promotes development through arts and humanities, specifically through “Pre-Texts” in Boston Public Schools, throughout Latin America and beyond. Pre-Texts is an arts-based training program for teachers of literacy, critical thinking, and citizenship. Among her books are Foundational Fictions: The National Romances of Latin America (1991) about novels that helped to consolidate new republics; Proceed with Caution when Engaged by Minority Literature (1999) on a rhetoric of particularism; Bilingual Aesthetics: A New Sentimental Education (2004); and The Work of Art in the World: Civic Agency and Public Humanities (2014). Sommer has enjoyed and is dedicated to developing good public school education. She has a BA from New Jersey's Douglass College for Women, and PhD from Rutgers University.
In collaboration with Cuba Studies Program at David Rockefeller Center of Latin American Studies.